Twenty years ago last night my mother, brother, and I hunkered down in the hallway of a house in Summerville, South Carolina while Hurricane Hugo, at that time the most powerful storm to ever hit the East Coast, raged all around us. These are some things I remember from that night and following days:
The weather on the afternoon before the hurricane was gorgeous- crystal clear blue sky, fluffy white clouds- and very quiet. No birds sang; no cicadas droned; there were absolutely no sounds of nature.
My dad was captain of a submarine at the time which had to be driven out into the ocean and submerged so it wouldn't get banged up in port. My dad said that deep under water, they could still feel the boat rocking.
We lived on James Island which was evacuated. So we went to Summerville to stay with another family whose dad was on the submarine with my dad- not nearly far enough inland as it turned out. Several days after the storm, President Bush (the first one) was photographed in front of the house across the street which had literally been cut in half by a fallen tree.
The lightening was green.
We had a battery powered radio and listened to a station all night (broadcasting from where I can't remember) that kept playing songs like 'Rock You Like a Hurricane' and 'Your Love is Like a Hurricane'.
We took in a cat that was dumped in the parking lot of a grocery store. We named her Iris after the Tropical Storm that came after Hugo.
It was my friend Caroline's birthday. Happy Birthday Caroline!
We all survived safe and sound and twenty years later I am blessed to have spent the night sleeping (in between infant feedings, of course) an untroubled sleep in a cozy bed. On the Anniversary of Hurricane Hugo I say a little prayer for people who spend their nights without safety and security, whose lives are in turmoil, and who lack the basic needs of shelter, food, and loved ones to protect them.