Monday, August 29, 2011

Close Calls

We have had several close calls, natural disasters or dangerous incidents in 41 years of marriage. Some of them were too close for comfort. The first brush with Mother Nature came the very first year we were married, 1970. Springdale, Arkansas had a tornado and we lived only 10 short miles from the destruction. We slept through it and were shocked when we found out the next day that the area had a tornado!

The next time was in North Highlands, California 1972 when Army ammunitions exploded on railway carriers near our apartments. This also happened at night and when they came to the door to have us evacuate, we hadn't heard a thing! No, we are not deaf...we are just sound sleepers evidently!

We lived in Sacramento, California from 1972-1976 and made many trips into San Francisco. I would comment sometimes as we would be in the "sandwich" of overpasses, what if we had an Earthquake? My husband always assured me the roads were built with safeguards. In 1989 the Loma Linda Earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale caused a 50 foot double decker section of the Bay Bridge to collapse. In disasters like that, nothing could withstand the force of Nature.

Another scare came in 1975 in Sacramento when Squeeky Fromme tried to assassinate President less at a park where we often took our young daughter Stephanie.

Fast forward to Harrison, Arkansas in April 1977 when a freak cold front dumped a foot of hail on us. We had gone up to Branson, Missouri for the weekend and couldn't believe the "snow" we were seeing as we got into the city limits of Harrison. A new roof was required from the beating it took with the hail.

The following year the telephone company in Harrison blew up from a gas leak. We lived a few miles away and the only damage we had were broken windows. Just a few miles closer and we would have had major structural damage.

Another close call came when we lived in Russellville, Arkansas. A mass murder, then said to be the worst family mass murder, happened in 1987. Russellville was a small town with practically no crime, when Ronald Gene Simmons went on a killing spree around town...hitting the same places I had just been paying water bills and buying gas. Eerie!

By far the worst and closest brush with Mother Nature came in Seguin, Texas 1998 when the Guadalupe River flooded after 27 inches of rain in 24 hours. We lived on Lake McQueeney which was fed by the Guadalupe River. When the dam broke, our subdivision was flooded. We were evacuated and had no idea we would be returning to a dry house after a long night of rain that sounded like rocks on the roof of the shelter where they took us. The homes that were waterfront all had 12 foot of water ruining everything. We lived two blocks up in the subdivision and the water came just to the edge of our garage. Flood insurance paid for damage to some of the homes that were devastated, but the important things you have in your home can't be replaced. The photo albums that were ruined, Grandma's china that was broke, the things your children made in First Grade...those things are priceless. It was a terrible time in our lives, my heart was broken for our friends and neighbors that were going through this. Hard to write all these years later.

Some of you may ask me where I live and then not move anywhere CLOSE!!


  1. too funny! i was thinking the same thing as i read this! i'm not living anywhere close to them! :)

  2. Actually, living close to you might be a GOOD thing. Seems you have lots and lots of guardians angels hanging out with you.

  3. Your closing sentence - that's what was going on in my mind as I read your post!

    Good Morning!

  4. I cannot imagine the flooding and the devastation. I have so many things that I have collected but my favorites are my photos and my grandma's things. We had hail this summer. We are waiting to have a new roof put on the house and one of the barns. Luckily we have no leaking...yet!

  5. Too many close calls! Wow, think I would be a bit on edge.

  6. Scary stuff. Stay safe my friend.

  7. Wow, so many close calls. You have truly been blessed. God is good and you my friend must have angels watching over you. Have a great day.

  8. My mother's home was picked up in that 1970 tornado, with the whole family inside! Thankfully no one was hurt, but I'm sure she would consider that one of her close calls, too!

    You certainly have had some close calls, but close isn't a hit. I think that makes you lucky! :)

  9. We've been VERY lucky to have made it during some of the flooding that has swamped the rest of our neighborhood. Our house is just a tad higher and I'm so grateful!

  10. Remember close only counts with hand grenades and horse shoes! You have a guardian angel, because things are just things!...:)JP

  11. I lived in San Francisco up until January 1989 when my boyfriend had a dream of an earthquake. We moved to Boston. We were so shocked when we saw the headlines about the earthquake. We were in Boston for Hugo, but by the time Hugo got that far north, it wasn't very severe. I've felt lots of tremors and seen funnel clouds, but luckily never been in anything major. That was very interesting to read your stories. I'm very sorry about your keepsakes.

  12. We experienced a tornado very up close.....took out a hay barn, uprooted trees, but missed the house except for some damaged screens caused by broken tree limbs falling against the house.

    We still have metal barn roofing wrapped like aluminum foil around trees out in the fields.

    We certainly pay attention when the weather alert radio goes off now!


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