Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

RITA CAT 5- Galveston's Nightmare

This is a dream they have been dreaming for a hundred years. Since a child of Galveston is old enough to listen to tales of grandparents and neighbors; the first story they probably ever heard was of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. Stories of houses floating away in the night, filled with babies who would soon be floating out into the inky black dark night lost forever to the howling winds and rising waters of that monsterous storm. The gulf waters rising faster and faster until they covered the island and reclaimed the land for the sea once more.

The debris field moved inland.. carried fast with the rising dome of water and then... it slammed back onto whatever was left standing and took whatever was left... including the few survivors who had managed to live through the first part of the storm... suddenly sucked away with the storm surge as it went back out to sea with the second half of the storm.

Nuns tied together to their small wards, babies, children... tied together with bedsheets that were meant to protect the poor babes but instead dragged them down, one by one, like an anchor in a raging river... down to the depths of the tempest.. where Mother Mary blessed their souls as they departed from this world into another.

This has been Galveston's nightmare for a hundred years.

To be honest... this has been my nightmare since I was a little girl but mine was stamped with the date 1926. Stories of my uncle as a small child of 3 or 4 huddled in a funeral home where people gathered to ride out the storm on a small hill in old Miami. Ironically, ghoulishly the highest driest spot to make it through the storm alive. During the eye.. men who lived.. died as they drove across the bridge into Miami to check on their stores downtown. The storm wasn't over. The "second storm" as they called it.. not understanding the dynamics of the eye or how hurricanes work back then.. the "second storm" got them. Tales told of people barely making it back to safety after they saw the car in front of them.. the old Model T Ford being swept off the bridge into the Miami River that was swollen and surging below. My childhood nightmares until my Grandma told me about the storm that took the whole island of Galveston when she was a little girl. Stories she heard from friends, mariners, people living in Tampa and Key West and New Orleans..all the ports of call on the Hurricane Express.. stories told over and over of the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

Oddly... Isaac Cline who is best known for being the meteorologist in charge of Galveston at that time ended up living out his life in New Orleans. His wife washed away, his brother Joseph sailed away never to speak to him again.. his remaning children living in New Orleans dedicating his life to understanding the raging sea, the wild storms and telling the tale to all how would hear. Maybe my Grandma heard it in the Garden District when she was a young girl of 12 or 13 living with a relative after her Mama died.


Who knows?

I don't know.

I just know I heard it. Knew it. Have always known it.

Now, a hundred years later... the world will know it again.

If indeed Rita is that rare hundred year storm that comes to reclaim Galveston for the Lord of the Oceans.. Neptune the ruler having fun as he reigns supreme this year of 2005... his Rule of Terror.

So...that is what goes through Bobbi's mind this morning.

Honestly, had no idea what I was going to write. Something about a movie I got kidnapped into going to see last night with a friend from Key West that I couldn't say no to.. nope.. just couldn't. So, I went. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be online with my friend. I wanted to watch the storm..form... forming into a Cat 5 or 6 or whatever numbers we have left for her to form into. I wanted to post on Hurricane City and see if someone was back in town and to see if they had posted on Hurricane City. I called Sharon from the movie.. what cords, what lat.. watching the lat you know? Watching to see if she climbs.. how much she climbs.. if she climbs.

She climbed by the way.

The movie was irritating.. annoying and not that funny. Then again for a jewish girl I have no jewish sense of humor. Maybe, because I am a southerner and we find different things funny. I don't find kvetching and people being afraid to live the life they want and worrying their lives away funny. I don't find dysfunctional families funny unless Charles Durning is playing the lead. Homecoming.. that was funny. This was cute, moments of tender.. Peter Falk who I do love ...who my father loved.. my father would have loved the movie. He grew up in the Bronx, he would have identified with it. Then again.. Yaffah would probably love it. Not sure, don't know, maybe not.. didn't have enough farts or depth or quirky moments. And, all that autumn.. who wants to see beautiful green leaves turn gold.. orange.. I don't know Autumn. I can't identify. And, then WHY is Burns going to Ohio. Is this some riddle? Rhyme? New shtick ( i can talk the talk.. if he can I can you know).. what is in Ohio?

Anyway.. was going to say the library was nuts because our operating system was down and had to wing everything we were doing through other systems, my heart wasn't in it..this bra sucks.. have to change it.. have to go to a class tonight to my FAVORITE building in Miami and I don't want to go to work.

I wanted to write a small note for someone to get right here------I missed you. The music is no substitute but it was night.

Sat in the middle of the movie writing poetry in my head, on my knee on a piece of paper I found. Looked up in the middle of some scene where they go to a baseball game and thought 'OH SHIT IM MISSING THE RED SOX GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Then I was really pissed.

Then I was pissed at you know who because there I was in a movie theatre the first time since July and I was missing the Red Sox. No words. Not even for me.

Movie over... called Sharon and found out it was still a five and a Jet Blue plane from LA was circling LAX and wondered how many people I might know on that plane.. if any. Most of my friends only fly Jet Blue.. NY/LA/Miami.. oh geez.

Went out for dinner. One of the nicer dinners I've had with my Key West friend in a long time. Really nice. Israeli place, fancy.. french-israeli.. small caps.. not sure. Pasta with feta cheese and fresh mushrooms, spinach... good fish. Decided the hell with it.. Just go home and start the day over.

So.. I did. Sat up and talked to my friend who just got back home.

And.. having problems understanding how so many people who live in America never "got" storms until NOW.

Can write on this later.. but suddenly.. so many closet storm freaks are coming out of the closet, unafraid to admit they have been tracking for years.. and telling me of things they loved most about Neil Frank ..way back when he was director of the hurricane center. The way he made you believe he cared and was watching out for you..for them.. for all of us.

Hearing on CNN, FOX, MSN...all those things I have heard forever in my head, typed a million times online, talked to Sharon of.. all those things about eye wall replacement cycles and stadium effects and barometric pressure.

This seems all so unreal. But .. it is real.

It is the Galveston Nightmare coming home again, returning after 100 years.. like that town Brigadoon? No... no...............don't mention that..last time I did that big old, gorgeous boat called Brigadooon showed up in the parking lot at the library .. and I think it was bigger than the Winnebago. Smiling.

Galveston's Nightmare is our nightmare again.

And.. may I add one thing..

Last night .. people on Jet Blue could watch the story unfold as they sat on the plane on televisions.

We watch natural disasters on television.

Galveston 1900 is most remembered in some circles as being one of the first storms ever filmed, it's aftermath.. an old movie from Edison's cameras.. movie footage filmed after the storm.. survives today.... a simple reminder that it is not what happens that matters but what is recorded that matters. For in it's recording.. either by Edison's cameras or with Hemingway's reporting of the 1935 Labor Day Storm.. it is in the recorded history that we learn about yesterday and we hopefully learn to prepare for tomorrow.

going to work.. changing my bra.. but going to work


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