***Hurricane Katrina, known to the East Coast of Florida as Tropical Storm Katrina, was just another rain cloud that passed us by. It took place during our Welcome Week at School, and i still mourn for the families that endured the treacherous storm as it passed through the gulf and landed in Louisiana. I have been beyond blessed never to have to endure a storm like that, nor would i want to. I do not write any of this blog with disrespect to any who have survived, and i completely understand the severity of the situation***
When i was a little kid, i was obsessed with the weather – specifically hurricanes. I told my mom that if i wasn’t a lawyer, i’d be a weather girl (funny, neither of those happened). But I would force my family to tune into the Weather Channel for the Tropical Update at the :50’s of every hour for my 8 minute fix of named storms, dropping barometers, and new predicted paths. The idea of evacuating or stocking up the hurricane survival kit was thrilling to me. I would count down the days until the first week of June when Publix would start to provide this years updated chart of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; brand new maps just begging me to start plotting points in different colors from my 10 pack of Crayola Markers.
Every year i would just hope i would be able to experience a tiny bit of what a real storm was like. I remember my grandparents telling me about the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and my Dad telling me about Hurricane Donna in my own hometown. He said that when the storm got close and the eye was approaching, all of the water was drained from the river that runs just a couple from my home…. i still can only imagine what that would look like, and wish i was there to see it.
At 6 years old, i waited in anticipation of Hurricane Andrew. I starred out of the sliding glass windows in my living room, “X”ed with duct tape, hoping for a few gusts of wind or maybe a big tree branch to fly by. Obviously having no idea what kind of destruction could have come on us, i actually prayed that it would stay a strong storm until it got to Fort Myers. Unluckily for my imagination, but very luckily for my family, friends, and hometown, Andrew barely sprinkled on the West Coast. Infact, the most devastating thing that happened to my home during Hurricane Andrew was the fact that someone told my mom a trick to getting duct tape off of windows was peanut butter. We put peanut butter over the tape…. and ended up having to clean up peanut butter, and still spend a ton of time scraping tape from our 4 large sliding glass windows (note: apparently this method has worked for others… but unfortunately not for us :).
I wouldn’t experience another hurricane again until i was 18 years old and packing for college when Hurricane Charley hit Fort Myers in August 2004. I packed for 3 days in a house with boarded up windows (aka, no light), no power or air conditioning. Definitely no fun, but my dad and sister and i did get to go outside during the height of the storm and jump just to see how far the wind blew us the other direction. My house and family were fine, other than a few shingles, but it was more of an annoyance than anything else.
I had no idea that in the next 26 months of my life, i’d experience 8 more hurricanes; and would have a blast with every single one.
The next few blogs will be the chronicles of my Hurricane journeys throughout college; otherwise known as Hurrication.
(Note: this link is to urban dictionary. but i have no doubt that PBA students created this word)