Selections from Chapter 16
Mr. Earl always asserted that, within Islanders’ memories, tidal waters had never crossed the Island at any point.
Since the September ‘33 hurricane appears to have been the most direct and powerful cyclone to have struck the Island in modern times, perhaps he was correct in his observation.
Why, apparently, would the Island avoid serious damage in all these hurricanes?
The hurricane was coming and I was out on Mr. Earl’s dock observing it. Winds were at least gale force, the tide was high, and already two fishing boats had broken loose from their moorings and gone ashore. One had washed up just east of Iri’s landing, pounded every four or five seconds by three and four foot waves. Another could be seen suffering the same fate farther east of Lea’s Fish House.
The hurricane must still be offshore since the wind was coming at us from the southeast…the worst direction as far as shore erosion is concerned. And, of course, rain was so heavy I could see little beyond Lea’s. I would have lots to report on WDCT upon returning to my studio!
Then I noticed Miss Lillian was coming. She was holding tightly to some sort of covering over her head, bending forward, looking down at the dock, carefully confronting the driving wind and rain.
Why? I was dumbfounded. I waited. “Come ashore, quick!”, she ordered through the noise. “Why? What’s wrong?” “James just left. Come on ashore, Charles Richard! Now!” And I knew she must be obeyed since she had used my first and middle names! Turning, she headed ashore, stepping carefully, step by step.
I was sixteen. I obeyed.