The Hurricane to End all Hurricanes

Collection

10th Anniversary

The hurricane to end all hurricanes. The Big One. The one that changed life as I knew it, and the first major tragedy that I ever had to deal with. The hurricane where I lost my house, my clothing, my pictures, and was left with nothing from my childhood. I was in shock for three months after. Not in a daze, but totally in shock. I picked through the remains of my house trying to salvage anything I could find not soaked in water and oil. The house was lifted off it’s foundation, water rushed through the front door and washed everything in the house out the back. Furniture, clothing, walls … everything. Couldn’t save a thing. The house itself was about a half block away from it’s foundation. My family was OK but still, I wondered how I was going to face the future. Somehow I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore. Things would never be the same. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking that I had lived through one of the major tragedies in life and that I had paid my dues. What kind of devastation could be so thorough that you think this was the once in a lifetime event that you’ll never have to live through again, because you had been through it? You had lived through it and faced it and dealt with it. This was Hurricane Camille in 1969 in Biloxi. It happened, it was over, and I would never have to live through something like this again.

Fast forward to 2005. The hurricane to end all hurricanes. The Big One. The one that showed me that life is a series of trials, sometimes. This time I was aware of what the days following the hurricane would be like. The Camille experience taught me to be patient, roll up my sleeves and carry on. We were very lucky this time. Our house remained intact though it suffered major damage. Not flooded. No deaths. This time I was in shock for other people and knew what they were going through. I wished I could give out How to Survive a Hurricane advice. But what do you say? You hug your family. You tell your friends that you love them. You look at your pretty sofa and think it’s just a sofa. You salvage an item or two. You buy one new thing. You look at everything you own and realize that you’re only the temporary owner of these things. They’re not that important. You take baby steps and you keep walking. You just keep walking.

Citation

Alton Geno, “The Hurricane to End all Hurricanes,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed December 12, 2017, http://www.hurricanearchive.org/index.php/items/show/46026.