As I sit writing this, Hurricane Irene is blowing outside. So far, it’s not as bad as we feared it might be. A lot of rain, yes, but all in all, not very windy. But then, it’s only 11am, the time that the National Weather Service predicted the real winds would start, so we might see something yet.
As always during rainy, windy weather, I remember a story about Adam. Adam was only three years old in September, 1985, so he probably doesn’t remember this story. That’s why I’m the one who has to tell it. He had just started Montessori School a few weeks before, where they were learning, among other things, all about the seasons.
And that’s when Hurricane Gloria blew through. September 27, 1985.
Now, Gloria was a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 145 miles per hour. There was a storm surge of almost seven feet–thank heavens it was low tide!–when the storm made landfall in southern Connecticut. Gloria dropped up to six inches of rain in Massachusetts and left over two million people without power. The storm killed eight people and did over $900 million in damage in New England. The name ‘Gloria’ has been retired.
While the storm was raging, I was–pretty much where I am now–on an upper floor of my house in the study by the window, working on my computer. But Gloria was raging. It broke whole large branches off the mature maple by the side of our house. These branches fell on our roof with a shaking thud, clawed their way down the roof slope, landed on the roof of the screen porch below with another thud, and slid from there down into the yard.
It was terrifying.
Afraid that a branch might blow through the window or worse, the storm might take the roof off the house, I shut down my computer and went downstairs to the first floor, where I found Dan with Adam in his arms, the two of them in the kitchen standing well back from the windows watching the branches falling from the screen porch roof into the yard.
“Daddy,” Adam asked, “is this fall?”
Well, yes, Adam, the leaves are falling down off the trees, but normally they come down without the branches still attached.