Monday, October 29, 2012

Gloria

All this storm talk reminds me of when I lived in Connecticut. We knew for two days that Gloria was coming. The night before, Dan Rather scared me. The stories of former hurricanes from residents who had lived there all their lives added to the drama. No advance warning, kids walking home caught in the hurricane in 1938, a little sister dying. And then there was 1956, too, catching them by surprised.
I taped my picture window in my apartment and the rectangular ones in the bedroom. The window had been an intake for the former textile mill. I had no worries about the old brick building. I called my dad for a pep talk. He assured me. Dan, visiting, got on the phone to tell me not to worry about anything Dan Rather reported, as he sensationalized stories, ever since he put a microphone in the middle of a hurricane. I mentioned tornadoes are side effects of hurricanes, since they had just suffered one in the spring, he didn't really have much more to say. Good luck, Sister.
I worked midnights at the local hospital and that night there were no sleepy eyes. We sneaked peeks at the TV when we could to see where Gloria was. I got offers to stay at people's homes, but I had two cats that concerned me.
Another Navy wife down the hall invited me to her apartment to sit out the storm and I could bring my cats. The walls of the next wing sheltered her apartment. I settled on her couch, thinking we watch the hurricane on TV. We did for a half hour, then as Gloria hit New Haven, our electric went out. Gloria ripped through the state quickly. Tree branches down and large power outages the only damage.
As I returned to the dark, empty apartment, listening to the radio. Calls of people wanting to know who shot JR, as the season opening of Dallas was missed that night. I slept on the waterbed as the heat slowly dissipated from lack of electric. The next day, the sun dawned bright, a beautiful late September day.
Around six PM a knock echoed through my apartment. The fire marshal with his hat, informed me the building had to be evacuated as a fire hazard. I couldn't have my part of the progressive dinner for the wives' club.
Another Navy wife invited me to her house, as our husbands sailed under the North Atlantic in the Daniel Webster. She lived out of town and I could bring my kitties. Princess, the Siamese, protected me by not leaving my side. Arthur, the Himalayan, hid out, we didn't know where. I thought he got out, we walked all over the neighborhood. Vicki, at our rope's end, let her tomcat into the house. He immediately routed Arthur out of the closet.
I got a call from the fire marshal that the electric returned and I could also. I slept in our guest bed because of the waterbed being very cold by now. The next night at my community college class, the professor noticed how shell shocked we all were. Many still did not have power. He let us leave early. I stopped at the grocery store to buy a few things. The lights flickered and then stayed out for a few minutes. The panic that gripped my raw nerves, then the relief flooding me as they came back on, I had never experienced.
The girls at work without blow dryers or curling irons displayed irritability with their flat hair. The week was rough until everyone's electric was restored. I did this without my husband, but I wasn't alone.
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