Friday, August 22, 2008

1957 Overflow

With all the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Fay and seeing the footage of folks with water in their homes, I got to remembering the 1957 Overflow that occured in our area.

We'd had an exceptionally hard winter and had been without power due to an ice storm that lasted several days. I don't remember much about that, I was only 8 years old at the time, but I have vivid memories of the water rising in the spring and some of the things that happened during that time. I have some timelines of a few of the things that happened because I had a baby brother born in April of that same year and as if that wasn't traumatic enough, we had that dang flood.

It was in May and almost time for school to be out. The river, which was very close to some of property we farmed had begun rising. My Dad along with a lot of other men were spending time walking the levee's trying to keep them from breeching(a word I didn't know back then). They were sandbagging and doing what they could to keep the river on it's side of the levees.

But the water outside was rising also. Some was probably from rain, some from seep water. At any rate, it became apparent that if it continued, it would be in our house before long.

Our house didn't sit on the ground on a concrete slab like many houses today. It was a small wood frame house with asbestos siding and a tin room. It sat on blocks. You could lie on the ground and see all the way from one side of the house to the other. You had to go up about 3 or maybe 4 steps to get on the front porch.

But the water was rising and my Dad began making plans to move us out to higher ground. He took my Mother, my two brothers and me to stay a few days with my Mother's sister in Jonesboro. They weren't in any danger there. He took all the livestock to the sale and got rid of them. This included the milk cow and probably 20 or so pigs. I don't remember what he did with the chickens, but they had nests high enough that they probably weren't in any danger.

Our furniture was all moved into cotton trailers and covered with tarps and also moved to higher ground.

Looking back, I'm sure my parents were terribly distraught, but it was a grand adventure for my older brother and me. My younger brother was just a month old, so he has no memories of it at all.

After several days, Daddy came and collected us. The water had begun to recede and we were no longer in any apparent danger. The money Dad had made from the sale of the livestock would have to help us through the rest of the year, since there was no crop that year. Cotton should have and may have been planted in April and May, but was a distant memory after the flooding.

We were in desperate times, but we kids didn't know it at the time. It was only some years later that I realized just how bad things could have been when I remembered that my grandfather gave my brother a pig. I'm thinking he gave it to my brother because he knew how much pride my Dad had and probably wouldn't have taken it if offered to him.

But that pig was probably a life saver to our family. We kept it, and as we had the money, added another and soon we were back in the pig business. Somewhere, Daddy got the money to buy another milk cow and the big flood became a historical event that was brought up in conversation from time to time.

What events changed your life--maybe without you knowing it until years passed and you grew up? Might not have been a flood, may have been a death or a move, but that at the time, you didn't realize the ramifications of it all. This is your self-appointed psychoanalyst here. Spill it.

Have a great Friday. Love one another.

4 comments:

#1daughter said...

Anything that happens that I have no control over is traumatic for me. My shrink is working on that with me. We've made zero progress.

"pink clouds have now turned to gray"

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

That was the month and year I was born.
When I was 11 my parents helped a family that had moved to Georgia from Indiana. They knew nobody here at all. The husband moved down first and my father and he hit it off. When he moved his wife down and their 16 year old son, she found out she had breast cancer about two weeks later. She called her husband at work to tell him and he had a heart attack and died!
My parents took care of her through her treatments, my father took up time with her son. At the time I was a little jealous of that, but I loved the lady very much. She and her son were a part of our family for the next three years.
Years later did I realize how much they did for them and I was very proud and impressed.

Lisa J said...

Both you and robbin w/2 b's have such heart touching stories. I enjoyed reading them today. I am kind of out of sorts today, just a lot on my plate. But I am here reading!!!!!

Will said...

One of the most pivotal points in my life which carried both triumph and tragedy was the divorce of my parents. I was 21, my married sister was pregnant with her 2nd child, and it came as a TOTAL shock! However, through this tragedy my Dad and I built a relationship which has blessed me indescribably, and I was led into the field in which I now work--ministry.

Had this tragedy not occurred I would not be where I am today, and since I'm blessed to have my life...I'll say it all worked out for the good of those who loved the Lord. Amen.

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