Remember when…?–The storm

Storms are one of nature’s mean of communication: its way of yelling at us! Well, maybe not. But storms, in various forms, are part of life everywhere. Whether it is a tornado, a hurricane, a monsoon, a blizzard, we have all gone through many storms in our lifetime (and it is not over either). These storms can be the starting points of various life events, some sad, some interesting, some happy.

Have you ever been witness to a big storm? What surrounded that time? This can be yet another scrapbooking idea even if you don’t have a photo to prove that you were there. Will you record it?

It was a quiet afternoon

In 1974, i was staying with my aunt and cousins at their cottage in the country. The area was heavily wooded and it was said that to find the cottage, look for the two tallest pine trees, and the house was between them. That afternoon, i was sitting in the screened in porch with my cousin, sorting our stamps, as we were both collecting them. There was a very large table and we were sitting on opposite sides. Everything was fine and quiet. But that was about to change!

No time to sort

in a matter of just a few minutes, the wind picked up, and since we were sitting in the porch, that wind was moving our lightweight collectibles! But as they started swirling around we had to be fast: we grabbed whatever stamp we could get our hands on, and stuffed them in a bag or a box that was around. I probably picked some of his and he picked up some of mine, but that wind was increasing by the minute and we had no time to waste. Once we had picked up everything, we rushed inside.

Look at the pine!!

The house was between two pine trees, and they not only were very tall, but they also were very wide and one of them stood just a few feet from the cottage. Being that big, it was an easy catch for that wind. The swing hanging from the lowest branch (which was still about 15 feet high) was blown horizontally. Since the pine tree was so close to the house, we were afraid that either it would fall ON us, or if it was to fall the other way, it would lift the cottage by being uprooted.

Flying everywhere

We all gathered in the middle of the house, my uncle, my aunt, my three cousins and i, waiting for the storm to pass. Looking through the window we saw big branches flying left and right. Then, the power went out. Good thing it was the middle of the afternoon so it was light enough outside. We just waited there for what i felt was a long time, but i think it might have lasted less than 15 minutes. Then the wind died down.

Assessing the damages

Lucky for us, neither of the big pine trees fell. Going outside we immediately noticed branches on the ground everywhere. Even the pool was full of them. We proceeded to do some clean up. Since there was no power, we had plenty of time for that. After a couple of hours, my aunt decided to take a drive in town and see what had happened. We didn’t know what that was all about. The driveway from the cottage to the main road had a few small trees across so we had to clear those. Then, going in town, we saw more damage. Two things that really “impressed” me was to see the tobacco fields with all the plants fallen on the same side. Row after row after row. It was an odd sight. Then the telephone poles. They too were all leaning sideways, although they didn’t break. An old barn had fallen down.

What was that?

We never really found out what had happened. It was too widespread and “mild” to be a tornado. It was too short to be the leftover of a hurricane. But it was still quite a story to tell whoever was not around!

If you actually are lucky enough to have some photos to accompany your stories, you can also check out Debbie Hodges weekly podcasts of Give your Photos Stories. Last week’s episode was also about big storms, so you might get even more inspiration!

How about you? Do you remember a storm in your childhood (or more recent)? Did you ever prepare for a storm coming (when you had a warning) or did you get hit by a sudden storm some day? Tell us about your stormy stories in the comment below.

See you next week.

For Photos That Matter

3 thoughts on “Remember when…?–The storm”

  1. Storms
    I have a few short stories about storms, one day perhaps I will do a layout or two for them.
    I get some Moor
    I like storms: providing I am somewhere reasonably safe from being struck I enjoy watching the lightning and listening to the dull rumble or ripping crash of thunder, depending on how far away the storm is. I say reasonably safe because the last big thunderstorm I was in occurred when I was staying in a caravan park in my camper-trailer (solid below but all canvas on top!) and we were woken by a violent thunderstorm and torrential rain that lasted about 45 minutes. Fortunately we stayed dry. One other really scary storm happened the year before I got married. My fiancé and I were staying in a farmhouse on the edge of Exmoor, North Devon, in the UK, not quite Hound of the Baskervilles country but pretty close. We were with the hosts and some other guests sharing after dinner coffee when a rumble of thunder in the distance heralded the arrival of a big storm. The closer it got the worse it sounded, and then the lights went out! Only for a second before they came on again, but this happened repeatedly each time the lightning flashed. Being together we weren’t worried and we actually found it quite funny, trying to get candles lit before the lights came back on, groping around in the dark and so on. It wasn’t so funny when the storm came back in the middle of the night and I was alone in my bedroom in the converted stable! How does that song go? “Raindrops on roses….”
    “Hail as big as golf balls”
    I had often heard the saying but never seen it until a trip to Brisbane, Queensland one summer. We had visited the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and were travelling back down the river when we looked behind the boat to see the sky had got very dark. Big black storm clouds were chasing up behind us, so as soon as we docked we jumped off the boat and raced for the car, driving off as quickly as we could looking for shelter. Luckily we found an old petrol station and we were able to park under the awning. Just in time, the skies literally opened and huge hail stones pounded the awning above it. Golf balls? I swear some were more like cricket balls! The storm only lasted a few minutes but when we ventured out we saw lots of damage, particularly to cars that hadn’t been sheltered. Sadly these storms are not unusual all over the country.
    Kimberley Light Show
    The Kimberley region of north Australia has two seasons – the wet and the dry, both extreme and nothing much in between. Our friend Geoff (of the Tag-Along-Tours) led tours to the region in the dry season but one year decided to try and do the same thing in the wet. A very small band of intrepid 4WD enthusiasts (or idiots!) went with him. What happened on that trip is a novel in itself, but one of the highlights was each night sitting around the campfire, preferred beverage in hand, watching the magnificent display of lightning in the distance as the daily storm raged. Too far away to even hear the thunder, never the less Mother Nature really put on a show for us.
    Strange reactions explained
    Not everyone likes storms. Growing up in the 1950’s I was struck by the strange reaction my mother had to thunderstorms. Firstly she would always cover the mirror that was over the mantelpiece. She said this was to stop the lightning bouncing off into the room but I didn’t know enough physics then to know whether this was true or an old wife’s tale! Her other reaction I actually found quite funny – if there was a storm in the middle of the night she would jump out of bed, grab her purse and rush downstairs, calling us all to come down as well. What on earth was the point of the purse? It wasn’t until I was older and took a bit more notice of family history that I found out the reason: my mum had lived through the Blitz. This period of the Second World War saw lots of bombers follow the Thames to London and if they hadn’t used all their bombs they would jettison them on the way back, right over the house my mum and sister were living in. The house was destroyed, Mum and Marion were lucky to survive, and although they were able to find somewhere to live it was in the same area. Each night, when the sirens sounded, they would grab their valuables and head for the shelters. No wonder Mum reacted the way she did when there were very loud bangs overhead. Not so funny after all.
    I still like thunderstorms though..

  2. Great prompt. As I was reading this it sparked a memory of my own. I grew up in Southern California so we had sunshine 90% of the time, but I did live through a big earthquake and have never recorded my memories of the event. You’ve inspired me to do so!

    • Oh, i hope you document that event somewhere! I have never experience an earthquake, even though there were two in the locations i lived, but just the wrong day: i was in Montreal when a light earthquake hit the NewBrunswick, and i was in NB for a week when one earthquake hit Montreal! No luck for me!

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