Gypsy's Travels

Monday, March 17, 2008

From the Memory Box - "Hurricane Alicia"

From the Memory Box.....

"I remember Ki mopping up water seeping through Kr's window while
she slept......Going for Mexican food that night and sucking on ice cubes out of
the margaritas.......Kr leaving for Germany the next day."

Hurricanes are a fact of life along the Gulf Coast. We lived a tad inland from Houston, so we did not get the full force of the storms, but weathered the side effects. Whether we were on the "clean" or "dirty" side of the storm, depended on where the hurricane "hit." That determined how much rain / wind / damage we received. Hurricane Alicia formed off the coast of Louisiana on August 15th, 1983. She quickly progressed to a Category 3 storm and promptly made landfall on the west end of Galveston Island in the wee hours of the morning on August 18th. Galveston suffered, but was partially protected by the seawall which was built after the devastating hurricane of 1900. Alicia spawned 14 tornadoes between Galveston and Houston as the storm made landfall, and 9 more touched down the next day between Houston and Tyler.

Our house, about 70 miles northwest of Galveston, leaked like a sieve under the heavy wind-driven rain. We mopped around windows and door sills for hours as the storm moved through. All family members were pressed into service, except Kr, who slept through it all. We were fortunate, the only real damage in our small neighborhood was a neighbors patio roof which was spirited away by heavy wind or, we surmised, a small tornado. Our big trees lost limbs and there was a lot of debris, but those were minor annoyances in such times.

More important considerations in the aftermath of the storm, were amenities. We lost our electricity. Living almost in the "country" and not having city utilities, we relied on our septic tank and water well. Without electricity, we had nothing - no water, no bathroom, no refrigerator, no TV or lights. Although candles and flashlights became necessities and we could, in a pinch, cook in the fireplace, it is still hot and humid during hurricane season, so firing up the fireplace was a last resort. Some areas were without power for 2 weeks. We were more fortunate.

Since Kr was leaving the next day for a year-long jaunt as an exchange student in Germany, we had planned to celebrate at our favorite Mexican Restaurant that night. Surprisingly, the restaurant was open. By enforced candlelight, without air-conditioning, we had a great meal for Kr's send-off. It was a tribute to free-enterprise that the restaurant was able to provide meals under adverse circumstances. It was also a tribute to the local people that they accepted what was available and made the best of it. The restaurant was packed with customers and staff in celebration mode.

We put Kr on the plane the next day, and her sisters.....well.....that's another story.


  1. Hey, we longed for our own rooms!

    And, you got the DDs mixed up in the intro - DD#3 mopped DD#1's window while she slept. And DD#1 was headed off to Germany. DD#2 was probably mopping our window... or at least wreaking havoc elsewhere. :)

    Guess you were looking forward to going to ABW's house and cleaning out her closets for a change!

  2. LOL...thanks, you beat me to it...I was wondering how I got relagated to the number 3 position.

  3. I was getting to write the same thing Shrimp!

    Mom, we waited forever for our own rooms!!! You did make us go to the airport to see her off though, but as soon as we got home we were moving stuff left and right.

  4. O.K. I think I fixed it. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention :)

    And the I said, that's another story.....stay tuned.....

  5. I'm glad I read these comments. They are as good as the story. Judging from your locale, you must live near where my grandfather had his plant nursery for so many years. I remember being at his home one year during a hurricane, but I think it was probably 1987 (or thereabouts).


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