Hurricane Carol-1954- Journal Entry (Archives-Feb. 2011)

Dear Readers,

I’m blogging what came to my mind while reading last Sunday’s scripture lessons from church…

HURRICANE CAROL- 1954,  Journal Entry (Archives- Feb. 2011)


Luke 6:26-29, instantly brought back a memory from my childhood because I could actually see parts of scripture in my trauma…

It was August, the summer of 1954.  My parents had recently purchased a vacation home in Misquamicut Beach, Rhode Island.  On weekends my folks would leave some of us kids at the summer house while they went back to take care of the family business in Auburn, Massachusetts.

One particular weekend my three brothers and I stayed behind to enjoy the beach, while my two sisters and parents went home to Auburn, hopefully to return here in a few days.

Several things I specifically remember:

  1.  Our house was only a short walk to the ocean.
  2.  The house was old but sturdy, well built and had a firm foundation.
  3.  Most of the other houses on our street were nice but built on posts or cement blocks on all four corners.
  4.  There were reports of bad weather coming up the east coast, in particular Hurricane Carol.

But hurricanes didn’t often reach New England shores, so we didn’t pay much attention.  I would also add that back in the 1950’s advanced weather warnings were poor at best.  So, half my family left, and the three boys and I stayed behind.  It felt strange being alone in the girls bedroom, which normally housed three of us.

I was awakened at dawn to violent wind and rain.  Fear gripped my ten-year old body as I felt the house shaking and heard the loud roaring wind and rain pounding against my windows.  Looking outside, I saw water on the ground and ran to my older brother’s bedroom door, hammered on it and shouted, “I’m scared!  Let me in!”

“Go back to bed, it’s just a rain storm!” he yelled and closed his door.  I could hear the weather report on his radio.

Climbing back under the warm covers, I lay shivering in fear.  None of us knew how to swim so water was scary to me.  Too frightened to go back to sleep, suddenly I heard someone banging on our front door.  My brother ran downstairs to find our distant neighbors standing in the doorway.

“Quickly, come with us!” they shouted, “There is a hurricane hitting the coast!  We have to move your family further away from the ocean!  Come and stay at our house down at the end of the street!”

The four of us threw on some clothes.  As we headed for the front door, the kitchen windows started breaking.  We ran outside to their station wagon through about 6″ of water already on the ground.

After arriving safely at their house we ate breakfast in a sound-proofed kitchen, oblivious to the raging storm.  Finally my big brother suggested we check to see what was happening outside.  So we all went upstairs and peered out their attic windows and were shocked and frightened by what we saw.

Most of the houses on our street were floating in ocean water out in the golf course across from our own land.  The sea waves were now breaking in our neighbor’s yard, thousands of feet inland from the normal beachfront.

Panic and screaming ensued, “We have to leave and find safety!” someone shouted as all us children cried in fear.  Again, we piled into their car and headed for higher ground.  I remember there were three ways out, and two of them were under water.  But finally at the third exit, we got through and stopped at a small farm house, and knocked on the door, all of us soaked to the bones.  These total strangers took us in, got warm dry clothes for us, fed us and kept us there until the storm subsided.

After a few hours the hurricane passed.  Jumping back into the car, my brother and neighbor headed to our house to assess the damage.  When they were able to get past the police and military barricades, they drove through deep mud and debris and arrived to find our house the only one still standing on it’s strong foundation!  All the others around us were destroyed or floating in the nearby golf course.

Approaching our home, they saw my parents and sisters out front, crying hysterically, while standing in mud up to their knees, thinking all four of us were drowned and washed out to sea.  As our friend’s automobile drew near, my brother jumped out.  He ran up and informed our family that we were all alive and safe at a local farm house.  Overwhelming tears of joy and relief consumed them.

Later as I looked around at the devastation, even at the tender age of ten, I realized how blessed we were to be alive.  Many of our waterfront neighbors drowned.

Our house stood strong!  My parents measured the ocean water line inside our home at about eight feet high.  Amazingly as we looked around at the devastation, we realized our summer place was full of other people’s furniture.  Most of our furniture, including the kitchen appliances, had washed away out the windows and doors.  Our back yard was full of bicycles, appliances, furniture, and trash.  But, thank God, the building stood firmly in place because it was built on solid ground with a strong foundation.  Everything else could be replaced!

Love in Christ,   Claire  xoxo


Luke 6:46-49,  Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”  (NIV)

When your flood comes, will your house stand strong, or will it collapse and be destroyed?


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