Monday, May 2, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #18

Week 18. Weather. Do you have any memorable weather memories from your childhood? How did your family cope and pass the time with adverse weather? When faced with bad weather in the present day, what do you do when you’re stuck at home?

As a child, I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, a US Naval seaport town, where my Dad was stationed from for most of his 22 year career in the US Navy.

Growing up on the coast, my summer memories are often interspersed with hurricane memories, as well.

In my early years, we were taught at school that in the event of being stuck at the school during a hurricane, certain areas of the school were designated as "bomb shelters", and thus would provide adequate protection, should the event occur during school hours.

Mama taught us that should a hurricane strike while my younger sister and I were at home alone, as long as the house wasn't flooding, we were to stay on the lowest level, and should we hear a tornado, we were to get in a doorway. If we were caught upstairs, get into the bathtub, which was cast iron, and throw a twin size mattress over ourselves to protect us from blowing debris.

We weathered many a hurricane, but never a tornado when I was growing up, although as an adult I went through several tornado's!

Once, when I was about 10, we were traveling back from visiting my great-aunt in Bumpass, Virginia [just outside of Richmond], when a hurricane struck. Dad was driving his old Chevy pickup truck, he had put racks on the back of the truck, and covered an area with tarps for us to ride under. He was bringing back some antiques he had purchased. The hurricane was upon us so quickly that there wasn't any time to prepare! Dad and Mom, my grandmother Beane, and my little sister, Eydie, were all in the cab of the truck. I was alone under the tarp. Dad pulled the truck over to the side of the highway, away from any trees. I was sitting on a mattress when the storm struck. I quickly pulled an old steamer trunk, which was packed heavily with old antiques close to the cab of the truck. I got behind the steamer trunk, and pulled the mattress up over top of me, and held onto it. A corner of the tarp covering blew loose, and I got soaked. There was some debris that landed on top of the mattress, but I was perfectly safe in the little "fort" I'd made of the back of the pickup cab, the steamer trunk, and the mattress!When the eye of the storm passed over us, I stayed perfectly still, having been taught well that it wasn't over yet! And sure enough within just a minute the storm was upon us again! Just before the second strike, Daddy poked his head out of the truck and yelled to ask me if I was alright. The second strike came so swiftly, that my family didn't know if I was still there or not until it totally passed and Daddy could get out to check on me.

Mama was crying and hugging me. I will never forget the sensation of feeling so loved at that moment! For years Daddy was haunted by the "what if's" from that event!

As a tenyear old, however, it wasn't traumatic to me! Simply a big adventure! Today as I look back upon it, I realize what "could have happened", and count it a blessing instead of trauma. For God surely had a purpose for my life, else I shouldn't be here today!

Today I live in a mobile home park, in a single wide mobile home. It is 14' x 72'. The park, itself, is snugged up against Kate's Mountain in beautiful Greenbrier County, on one side, and Big Stony on the other. We are in a somewhat sheltered spot, where the winds seldom get very high, and seem to bounce right over us. But, my sister lives just 20 minutes away, and we do watch weather seriously here. If a warning were to present itself that our area was in danger... I would simply head for her house.

We do keep emergency lanterns and food and water at all times in our home, and in our cars. For one never knows!!!

What kinds of items do we keep for food?

Some freeze dried, but mostly canned foods that can be eaten right out of the can if necessary. Beenie Weenies, pork and beans, Spam, instant oatmeal that needs only boiling water added which can be heated on our portable stove. And of course lots of water!

We also have first aid supplies, along with lists of medications we take regularly.

A change of clothing for each family member, as well as pillow and blanket for each.

While we've never faced a disaster that came about, we do try to be prepared!

We also have emergency plans in place as to where we would all meet should a disaster, natural or otherwise, separate us, say while at work, etc.

What kinds of emergency plans does your family have in place for natural disaster?

Are you prepared for the worst?

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