Monday, September 21, 2009

Hurrican Hugo-Part II

When we purchased our lot back in 1985, we chose it because of the trees. A row of beautiful old oaks and pecan trees across the front and a row of beautiful old oaks across the back. We put our house smack dab in the middle.

As the storm subsided around 5:00 AM and dawn started to break, we got up off of the powder room floor (Legare was STILL asleep tucked up in one corner) and held our breath as we walked through the house. We had no flooding, but the hardwood floor in the foyer was wet where water had blown under the front door. Shingles had apparently blown off and there were wet spots on the ceiling upstairs. The guest bath window was broken. We'd pushed the kitchen table up against the double doors in the kitchen. It had been moved about 6 inches back into the middle of the room by the wind. All in all though, the house had come through it right well.

When we walked into the sun room and looked out the back door the FIRST thing I noticed was that I could see the sky lightening up. That was strange, because we couldn't ordinarily see the sky because of the row of trees across the back of our property. You guess it...huge trees..all over the back yard on top of each other like pick-up sticks...pulled up and over by the roots. Huge holes. Putting the house smack dab in the middle of the lot turned out to have been a very smart thing to do.

When we walked out of the back door, it looked like we'd landed in a war zone or on a different planet. Nothing looked right and the smell of pine almost hurt our noses it was so strong. We began to walk around, trying to see if our neighbors houses were still standing. They were, but one neighbor's metal roof was a twisted mess in our front yard. A friend down the road escaped tragedy by a hair...she had just gotten up off of the bed when a tree crashed through the roof right ON the bed. Their house couldn't be salvaged.

By the following morning, the road out of our little community (there's one way in and one way out) was cleared so that I could drive the 90 mile's to mother's house to take Legare and stock up on water and supplies (we were ultimately without power for almost two weeks). I came back home to help with the relief effort at the church, checking back in at mother's every couple of days. Hank had to immediately get back to work (power company) My aunt and uncle came with a generator and propane stove. Friends came from Savannah to help us start on the yard. Friends in town got power back with in a couple of days and were gracious enough to allow us to come take hot showers. People emptied their freezers and brought all of the food to the church so that we could cook for the lineman and others coming in to help.

To say we were stunned would be an understatement. I remember the beloved local news reporter Charlie Hall breaking down and crying on the air when someone told him that his house was still standing. It was quite some time before I didn't get the heebie jeebies during windy weather if it occured at night. I don't particularly enjoy rehashing the event every year, but as this was the 20th anniversary, decided to write about it so that Legare would have an account of what he slept through. God showed us an extraordinary amount of mercy and grace during that dark dark night. We are extraordinarily thankful.


  1. What a harrowing experience. And I love that your Legare felt so secure that he slept through the whole thing. My baby brother was stationed in Charleston then (Navy) and I remember being so terrified because we couldn't contact him for 2 days. He was fine, his car was destroyed. I can't believe that was 20 years ago! Kathy

  2. I was there too. I was in the 6th grade at the time and still remember the clothes I was wearing that day. Our family from Mt P came to stay with us in the country. We were all hunkered down in the den of the house while my probably 3 year old cousin slept in our powder room.

    It was scary. Everything you described was true for us too...water up under the windows, the eye of the storm, power out for 2 weeks, etc.

    We lost power very early that night and I can remember listening to Q107 on the radio until eventually the signal was lost. I can't remember if the DJ's were Michael D and Cato or not...but I think it might have been them.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I can't imagine living through something like that. I'm so happy that your family made it through safely and that your home was spared (though I know it must have been so sad to lose your beautiful trees).My family is from northern Louisiana so we never have to worry about the full force of the storms. (And I now live in Kansas and only have to worry about tornados.) I had the opportunity to visit Biloxi this summer, and it was so sad to see all of the damage Katrina inflicted to that area.

  4. Many thanks for sharing your Hugo experience....I was 10, and will never forget the eye of the storm passing over our home in the northwestern part of NC. Insane to think it's been 20 years!

  5. Wow! And I complain about snow storms? That sounds terrifying! Thank goodness non of your family was hurt and your home had little damage. i hope you never experience anything like that again!

  6. This is unbelievable. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. I remember it like it was yesterday. My entire family stayed up all night long. Thank God it only up rooted a tree in our side yard and tore some siding off the house. God is good.

  8. Wow! What a story. Thanks for sharing it.

    It's amazing what kids can sleep through.


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