Monday, September 21, 2009

Hugo's a bad man

I was 6 years old when Hurricane Hugo ripped through my small hometown of Hartsville, SC. I knew something bad was happening a few days before it made landfall on September 21, 1989. My aunt and uncle from Charleston showed up with their kids and dogs to stay at our house for a few days. They usually stayed with my grandparents when they came to town but this trip they had brought 3 dogs and my grandma didnt allow dogs in her house.

I thought it was fun when mom took me to the store a few days before the storm and we bought sweet sixteen donuts. We bought gallons of water and bread and little debbies. I thought we were having a party.

The storm made landfall at night but during the day I helped my dad board up windows at his office. I handed him nails and a hammer. I still wasnt sure what was going on. It was a peaceful and beautiful day. I remember how calm it was (eerily calm as I now know it to be).

My parents put me in their bed the night of September 21st. They said there was going to be a storm and we were going to all sleep in their room. My brother was going to sleep on the couch in their room and my aunt, uncle and cousins were in the living room on air mattresses and sofas.

I fell asleep pretty quickly in my daddy's arms and woke up to the sound of a freight train around 3am. My mom and brother were standing on the sofa looking out the window into our front yard. I heard my mom yell for my brother to "get down". There was a tornado ripping through our yard. I remember hearing lots of loud bangs it was tree limbs falling and tranformers blowing. It was the sound of lightning striking and rain pouring down. The sound of glass breaking and limbs falling on houses and cars.

The next morning I was the last one in the house to get up. I walked to the kitchen and noticed no one was there. I walked outside in my footed pajamas and saw my entire family in the backyard. They were drinking coffee, talking to the neighbors, and assessing damage.

A tree had fallen on my playhouse, a pine tree had crushed our brick fence and landed in our pool. 3 houses on our street had trees through them middle of their houses. There was trash and debris all over the yard and street. It was a mess. I distinctly remember walking to my playhouse and touching the big tree. When I pulled my hand away it was sticky with sap.

Clean up took days and we were without water and electricity for about a week. The storm went right through my town and wreaked hvaoc on the way. My aunt and uncle went back to Charleston to find a bigger mess. When we got back to school a week later we had to write down our feelings and memories and they were compiled in a book about the storm. I wrote "Hugo's a bad man, he put a tree on my playhouse".

Twenty years later I still remember how bad of a man Hugo was.


MG said...

I was the same age as you were and living only slightly north of you in North Carolina when Hugo hit. Eventhough we did not receive the brunt of the storm, I remember it as well.

Katie said...

Oh gosh! So glad everyone in your family was okay!!

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