September 2004: Hurricane Frances (and consequently Jeanne, and Ivan… and later Karl).
It was 3 weeks into college, and only 2 days after our labor day weekend holiday, that we were alerted that Palm Beach Atlantic University would be evacuated in the anticipation of Hurricane Frances. In the true college spirit, one of the guys in our group of friends stood on a chair in the Caf (read: dining hall) and announced that we would be leaving in 3 hours and driving to Alabama. and that anyone was welcome to join us. That night, we each packed a duffel, and prepared for a few nights of adventure in another state. 12 of us divided up into three cars and made the 12 hour drive to Birmingham.
And boy, was it an adventure.
Top: Deutschle, Otown, Meadows, Ben Friday,
Mid: Amy, Kim, Brook, Tiff, Me,
Bottom: Dave Bley, Matt, and Nate
That was our crew. Unfortunately, this is the only photo that exists of the 12 of us. This is mainly due to the fact that i was the only one to take photos on the trip… and my camera erased itself on our second to last day of the trip. Yes, i cried.
At this point, our weekend trip turned into 10 days – power had been lost at the school, and we were offically on a new type of school holiday: Ladies and Gentlemen, we were on Hurrication. Hurrication became one of the best things ever. We were gifted 10 days, worry free, to frollick around another state… and not have to make up one day of class? This was delightful. The news got even better with the threat of Ivan and Jeanne – they weren’t allowed to let us back onto campus until after all had passed; this became a 15 day vacation we would never forget.
The family we stayed with, the Friday Family, were one of the most hospitable families ive ever been blessed to know. They housed, fed, and entertained 12 college kids for more than 2 weeks. They sacrificed their personal space, own beds, time, and most likely their sanity; They gladly gave up their picturesque movie theater style basement for us to watch Top Gun on repeat, and lay in their backyard reading God’s word and talking to eachother. On top of all of that, we got to go to the Birmingham zoo, horseback riding, home cooked family dinners, dozens and dozens of chocolate cakes, an Auburn football game (the first one of the season, and my first college game ever!), and spend 4 days at a lake house, playing boats, jet skiis and rope swings. This was heaven.
Our crew grew by three, when a trio of other PBA Hurrication orphans drove through birmingham looking for a place to stay for the night. At this point, the local media got word of Team Bama (the nickname that had developed) and wanted to interviewed us and run a news story on our journey and stay in Alabama.
Most of us and one of the newbies (Reid!!) the night we got interviewed.
From that news exposure, many members of the community started to cook us dinner, send cookies, and even give the family money and gift cards to help compensate. For the entire 15 days we spent away, i spent a grand total of $50. Needless to say, 12-15 college coeds in close quarters lead to many quarrels, but only ones that made us close knit friends and left hilarious stories to be told for years to come. It was such a blessing of a trip for all of us, and something i’ll remember forever.
After being back at PBA for only 2 weeks, we were evacuated for another long weekend, but this time only journey across the state to Fort Myers. The only truly noteworth story from this trip was the prank phone calls i endured, that ended with me being pretty annoyed at some of the Team Bama boys. But regardless, we still had a great time with our friends 🙂 And couldn’t wait for the next hurrication to happen.