Friday, September 3, 2010
Flibber the Gibbets!
Batten the hatches!! Flibber the gibbets!!
It's been 20 years since a hurricane last hit Massachusetts (ish). We've only ever HAD 2 major hurricane hit us during my lifetime. There was Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Bob in 1991.
And now we are getting ready for Hurricane Earl later tonight.
It's funny to think about hurricanes in the Northeast. Not funny "haha" but funny strange. We get battered with Nor’easters pelting us with winds and snow and such every winter. Freezing cold winter months and often times digging out under feet upon feet of snow.
But a hurricane?
We are not as adept in handling such events. Unlike Florida and the Gulf Coast, we are not accustomed to these warm weather storms making their way into our frigid North Atlantic waters and lasting long enough to cause any real damage.
We have seen the tail ends of some horrible storms, even heavy rains for days after Hurricane Katrina, but that was it. Rain. Big whoop-di-doo.
So now with this vigil over Hurricane Earl's track northward and the local news media stalking his every move, I am forced to recall those previous 2 major hits we took decades ago.
I remember Gloria. I was 6 years old. We still lived in our white house on Pond Street, the house I grew up in. Built in the 1700's and settled on 2 acres of land in which we housed all manner of miscellaneous farm animals.
We had a pear tree in our front yard, and to the left of the house on the hill in the side yard, and HUGE old tree.
I remember when Gloria hit, sitting in my brother's and my upstairs bedroom. We had one window, and it overlooked my neighbor’s yard (people who were to me my grandparents). In front of their yard was an enormous Evergreen tree.
I remember sitting in that window with my brother and my cousins, Robbie and Jenny, and watching that Evergreen sway in the vicious winds. I remember even at 6 years old wondering if it would fall towards our house and hit us as we sat in the window watching. My dad's generator outside growled loudly and gave us power while the rest of the street was dark.
When the storm was over, and my brother and I went exploring in the wooded back acre of our yard, I remember finding a downed tree that crushed our fence and made a sort of bridge into the trailor park that was behind our yard. We climbed all over it and it turned our backyard into sort of an adventurous place.
Bob was a different story. 1991 I was 12 years old. I remember everyone joking about the name because my dad, after all, was Bob. This was HIS hurricane.
And boy was it!
We had family down on Cape Cod, well the "Gateway to the Cape" in Wareham. My mother's cousin owned a set of vacation cottages they rented out seasonally as well as the family cottage. We would go there for cookouts and family parties in the summer months, on long weekends, etc.
After Bob, that picturesque little part of town where the cottages lay was total chaos.
Houses once on stilts near the water completely leveled. Others swept out to sea or blocks away from where their foundations once stood. People's belongings littered the streets.
My dad had been an Insurance Adjuster and builder then and I recall going with him to survey the damages. We had loaned my mother's cousin our motor home as temporary shelter while my dad fixed flood damage in their cottage. Bad as it was for those who had losses, it was good for us because dad was busy with work.
Work meant money.
So now with the aftermath of such events as Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf 5 years ago, it seems as though Massachusetts is taking a "No Joke" approach to this storm. They refuse to be caught off guard.
Ironic that I started my new job last week working with a company specializing in disaster restorations; they are almost hoping for the worst. I guess money is money when you're in business, despite the put-out it is for other people.
But they are prepared. Generators on call, all flood-related paraphernalia rip-roaring and ready to go. I've heard electric work crews are already enroute to the Cape to prepare themselves for those who are expected to be hardest hit. Bridges already planned to be shut down, isolating people on Cape Cod as though it were completely cut off from the rest of the state.
They even have help on the way from the NYPD and FDNY. We're hardcore.
People have been pulling boats out of the harbors for days in preparation. Supermarkets flooded with the neurotic buying up batteries and water and canned good.
Already it's been downgraded to a Category 2 Hurricane, and by the time it hits our more frigid waters is expected to drop yet again to a category 1. Now granted that doesn't sound so bad when you look at things that have hit the likes of Puerto Rico and Florida over the years, but them's still some pretty fierce winds.
But seriously, this isn't Armageddon people. It's a Hurricane. By the time it reaches us will likely be nothing compared to the Blizzard of 78, which Bostonian's recall surviving with pride.
And Earl?? How many bad things can you imagine named Earl? The Duke of Earl? The Earl of Sandwich? The Dixie Chicks even sing about an Earl!
It will come in the night and leave us by morning. Like a bad one night stand. Leaving the rest of the weekend with supposedly beautiful weather and a potential mess to clean up.