|Creek pouring over retaining wall into yard on Friday.|
March has set a new record for rain in these parts and the creek circling the lawn is a raging torrent; it sounds like freeway traffic when we step outside.
|Creek in flood|
|Yard flooded from the perspective of old swimming pool.|
And this reminds me of the flood of 1974. It had been raining a lot then, too. But it wasn't the creek that demolished the yard, filling the swimming pool to the top with rocks, rubble and debris. It was the earthen reservoir atop a hill on the next property that hadn't been maintained, and it suddenly broke, carrying tons of water, boulders and everything else in its path down the hill, across the field and through our property, hitting the corner of the house and cracking the wall. It also washed out the two culverts in the creek that my parents had laid as part of a circular drive over to the county road; they were marooned until some neighbors came to their rescue. The flood also washed out the county road. "Act of God," the attorney said, when my parents consulted him regarding a possible lawsuit.
|Aftermath flood of 1974. Note sidewalk at swimming pool edge and culvert across creek at county road.|
I was living in Mexico at the time and Mom wrote letter after letter, describing not only the damage, but also their emotions and depression afterward, especially those of my father, who was schizophrenic. His years of work on the yard and his swimming pool were suddenly gone. Years later, when writing my novel, A Devil Singing Small, I drew upon those letters for some insight into the devastated emotions of Betty and Mitch when their son Michael disappeared in Vietnam.
We'd had good times with the swimming pool when I was a kid, though it was filled with cold creek water, and didn't get tolerable until August. We often swam with trout that I'd caught in the creek and tossed in (since I wouldn't kill and clean them, and Mom wouldn't fry them). One year there were 25 fish in the pool and it did get a little slimy, but they kept the mosquitoes down. After the flood, Mom decided not to clean out the swimming pool, but rather to turn it into a large flower garden.
|Dad and me 1960.|
Any flood is awful, be it a small one affecting a single family, or a large one, such as in Margaretville, New York, August 2011, that my friend Jen describes in her blog. I just hope that reservoir won't break open again. And it’s raining hard once more.