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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Post-Flood: The Sights, the Smells, the Sounds.

During the summer of 1972, shortly after the floodwaters from Agnes receded, I spent every day as follows:

  • Get up, have breakfast, grab shovel, walk from the Mayflower section of Wilkes-Barre to the Gateway Shopping Center in Kingston, former site of the "Million Dollar Dump" ( from the flood of 1936 ).
  • Spend the entire day pitching flood-damaged debris out onto the curb working for Herb and Jack ( both fondly remembered as professional gentlemen ) of  HurJax Photo.
  • Stop by a home on Loveland Avenue and help a former neighbor clean out the basement of his home.
  • Walk back through Public Square, grab some free food and water being supplied by the American Red Cross and others.
  • Get home - Run, work out...then crash and burn until the alarm went off the next morning.

I did this every day - 7 days a week - until the two-a-day football practices @ GAR High School began in August.

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I remember the sights, smells and sounds of the flood-devastated Wyoming Valley as if it was yesterday.

  • The huge, dead carp and countless other species of fish...bloated & baking in the sun.
  • Overturned and mud-covered cars...everywhere.
  • The never-ending carpet of dead, crunchy bugs underfoot after the massive spraying of who-knows-what by planes flying overhead.
  • The mud...the mud...the mud.
  • The gut-wrenching odor of a pail of diapers that had been underwater, in a closet in a basement for over two weeks, before I was able to pitch the rest of the piles of debris to get to them.
  • The absolutely heart-breaking sound of a woman sobbing hysterically as we had to destroy her father's water-logged and unsalvageable Steinway piano.
That sound will never be erased from my memory.
The media free-for-all is only just beginning, and anticipating all the wannabe "experts" that will be popping out of the woodwork for their 15 minutes of fame over the days, weeks and months ahead,  I think this blogger will stand aside and leave the coverage of the aftermath to others.

You see - I've "been there, done that" before many of today's "experts" were even born.

Where the rippling Susquehanna gently, slowly winds its way,
stands our dear old Alma Mater...stands forever and for aye.
Loyal sons and daughters greet thee, greet thee dear old GAR.

As we sing our life's last message, sweetest on our lips will be,
Memories of our days in high school...days that live so rich and free...


Later. I've got a date with my dentist this morning.

1 comment:

  1. While searching for info on the flood I came across this video. I contacted Dr. Joe and he said you were the one who was the main and driving force for stopping the building of the dam and Lake Kanjo. I would like to thank you for your efforts..