I cannot believe Hurricane Fran was 27 years ago, but it also coincides with moving to Wild Azalea Lane. Hurricane Fran was in the fall of 1996, and I moved to Wild Azalea Lane in December of 1996. There was so much evidence of her destruction on our property for many years.
At the time, I lived in a rental house in a bad section of town. I had 2 big dogs, and I was in graduate school so my housing options were limited. I remember going to bed with crazy, wild winds and hoping all the surrounding trees stayed planted. When I woke up, there was no power as expected, but it was also eerily quiet. A quiet I had never experienced before. And it was HOT. So hot and humid it was hard to breathe, and with no A/C anywhere to find relief. I walked to the main road and saw power lines on the ground. I tried to check the news from my local car radio station and there was only dead air. Keep in mind young readers, there was no internet or smart phones. I felt so helpless sitting in my car not knowing what had actually happened outside of my tiny world.
My memories from that week without power:
- I exercised a lot because my local gym on the other side of town actually had power. I could not justify going there just to shower, so I made myself exercise first.
- The sounds from the Section 8 housing behind the house were beyond depressing. So much yelling, crying and despair. I will never unhear those sounds.
- Watching every single day hoping the power company trucks would actually come to our street to restore power. We were literally the last priority. I have never forgotten that feeling of not being important to anyone…. even with live power lines on your road.
- Finally giving up and going to my second family to do laundry, which felt like a fail as a newly independent human being. Asking for help has never been easy for me.
- Feeling defeated with all the work I had done over the summer to help families with children with ADHD create token economies and execute them effectively. They all fell apart without the basics of life to help.
I know that there were hurricanes that did a lot more in terms of destruction, but Fran will always be at the top of my most terrifying.