June 03, 2009

My "Hurricane Radio".

I have a lot of objects in my home. Lots of stuff, as one would say. I guess I have developed affection for my possessions. Mostly this comes from the fact that I have moved around so much, I try relentlessly to hold onto objects as they make me feel safe.

Do you ever look around your home and see familiar objects around you and immediately feel waves of recollections streaming back? Almost everything in my house has a memory linked to it.

So does my hurricane radio.

I have experienced two hurricanes in my life and none of these experiences is something I want to relive again. The first one was hurricane Marilyn in 1995, while vacationing in the US Virgin Island. I was literally in the eye of the storm and have described this extensively in a previous post.
The second one was barely a year after in North Carolina. Although it was not a direct hit at that time, as I lived inland, it was still a very unsettling experience. In the autumn of 1996, the east coast was devastated by hurricane Fran. I lived in a second story (and the upper most) apartment and spend most of the night hugging my cat while sitting in the bathtub. The storm was strong and I felt at all times that the roof above me would be lifted by the strong winds and disappear. Most likely, the winds were never strong enough so far inland to do that, but I guess after living through one devastating storm, one gains respect for Mother Nature and its fury.

As with every storm of this kind, or any natural catastrophe for that matter, the worst is the aftermath.
Nothing is ordinary. There is no power, sometimes no water and everything comes to a stand still. The stores are closed and there is a state of emergency declared, with curfews implemented. It feels like being part of a war zone.

I will never forget the drive to work the following morning, seeing all the fallen trees and damages and collapsed power lines.
I also recall to this day my drive to the only open store in the area, the nearby K-Mart. We were let in one by one, given flashlights and let literally loose into the dark isles. All one could hear was the eerie silence, interrupted only by voices in the distance and dripping water from damage pipelines. I went there that day as I realized that it was terrible to be without power, but even more devastating to be without any communication. No radio, no TV. I wanted something that was powered by batteries so my mission that day was to purchase a battery driven portable radio. As luck would have it, I found one right away without needing to venture too far into the store. It was almost as if finding a treasure.

To this day the radio still works and use it every summer on my terrace. It works both on batteries and power, but I have never ever used it plugged. Considering that the power is different here, I most likely never will.

21 comments:

Cairo Typ0 said...

It's items like these that carry our personal histories that mean the most. :)

Great story. I'm glad you found your treasure. :)

Tom said...

Hurricane season officially started here yesterday. I think most people on this island know what can happen but think it won't happen to them. I might be among them, but I do have an emergency kit. Just In Case I'm Wrong.

Sorry you had to experience nature's bad side first hand, but at least you now know that saying "it won't happen to me" is almost a kiss of death! ;)

Totally agree that the aftermath is the worst part. Surviving the storm is one thing, getting your life back together afterwards is another.

Tom

steviewren said...

I live 6 hours from the Gulf of Mexico. Nevertheless, we occasionally get the high winds and heavy rains that go along with a hurricane as it blows itself out over land. I lost a couple of trees in my backyard due to Ivan.

Tornados are our real threat here. I've never been in an actual tornado but I've spent many an hour in the basement waiting for danger to pass.

I am ashamed to say that I don't have a emergency kit. Shame on me!

Claus said...

You always have the most interesting stories on own experiences! Aren't hurricanes scary?! and your radio will forever remind you of such happenings in your life.

Jacki said...

This reminds me of a police radio my great-grandpa had. He loved listening to it every night, so rowing up when I spent the night at their house, I would sit with them and listen to the police chatter.

Isn't it great how such a simple thing can hold so many memories?

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage said...

I remember Hurricane Fran. It was horrible and we were without power for a week. The devastation was unreal.

I understand how an item can bring back a flood of memories. It happens to me too.

Hugs,
Donna

Diane said...

My dad had a radio like that... it was our 'camping radio'. I will forever associate the staticky, tinny sound of big band music coming through a big transistor with camping in the woods :)

Rosezilla said...

Hurricanes are intense experiences, aren't they? I had never experienced any real hits, only second-hand wind, until 2004 when we had Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne all in a month, then 2005 was Wilma that took a small part of our roof off. Afterwards we went to the only open Walmart, just to talk to other people, so I know what you mean about the communication factor. The radio probably makes you feel safe and connected. And you're right, afterwards is the worse! At least Wilma was so late in the year she brought a cold front behind her, so that was kind of nice; after Charley was mind-numbing heat and humidity and of course no power.

Jill said...

WHO would dream that a little radio would bring such comfort! But, we live in a tornado area and I have great comfort knowing my weather radio is always at the ready!
I am grateful for that little radio!

Poetikat said...

You put me in mind of this poem I wrote about storms: http://hyggedigter.blogspot.com/2008/07/coping-mechanisms.html

You'll see mention of a "Grundig". That's my "tornado radio".

Now I want to check your avocado post, as I love avocadoes!

Kat

Protege said...

=Cairo,
yes, it was a treasure at that time.;)) Always glad when you stop by.;))

=Tom,
I hope you will stay safe. I guess the threat of hurricanes is definitely one downside of living in the tropics.;)

=steviewren,
aw, tornadoes must be terrible. I remember all the warning and watches from my time in NC, but luckily I never experienced one. And you know, I never had an emergency kit there either.;)

=Claus,
thank you for that kind comment.;)) And yes, those storms are very scary and at times unreal.

=Jackie,
what a lovely memory from your childhood; my grandfather would listen to a portable radio too. But just a plain transistor radio, catching frequencies from the west.;))

=Donna,
so you remember Fran too; I think the most unusual about that storm was how far inland it cause havoc.
Always glad when you stop by.;))xo

=Diane,
it is funny as I remember the same with my grandfather; I associate it with my childhood summers spend in Prague.;))

=Rosezilla,
yes, the radio definitely helped me stay connected, you are right. I bet you must experience a lot of storm warnings considering your location. I am wishing you a safe hurricane season this year.:)

=Jill,
tornadoes must be terrible, as they come so fast and are so violent. Any extreme weather is unpleasant. Glad you have your own storm radio.;))

=Kat,
I am off to check that post.;) How funny you have a "tornado" radio, I guess you share my sentiments about staying connected.;))

Noelle Chantal said...

Your experiences with hurricanes is very scary, Protege. And yes I cannot imagine life without power. Your hurricane radio bring back old memories and adventures in your life. And its pretty amazing how this simple things can mean a lot to us and give us comfort. :)

sallymandy said...

Good heavens, that's a graphic account of living in the aftermath of a hurricane. The story about going through the Kmart in the dark almost made me shiver. No wonder that radio has a strong association for you.

My daughter used to follow stories of hurricanes in the news when she was younger, and I spent many nights over the years comforting her that we don't have many natural disasters-relatively speaking-where we live in Montana. Every summer we have forest fires, but seldom threatening to our town. During those nights I would always be very grateful not to live with the kind of fear people in the hurricane zone must live with.

Thank you! xoxo

Hilary said...

That had to be a very frightening experience. I know you had to feel as if your radio find was like winning the lottery after such an event.

Shelly's Style Shop said...

Very interesting stories. I know it must have been a very scary experience for you. I can't imagine being without power. ;-(

Love the hurricane radio. My husband doesn't understand why I keep so many things that I bought years ago...he doesn't understand that everything has a story behind it. ;-)

xoxo, Shelly

Protege said...

=Noelle,
you summed it up so eloquently, the simplest things do in some situation bring the best of comfort. Thank you again for all the lovely comments you always leave.;))

=sallymandy,
I am happy that you live in a relative safe area when it comes to natural disasters. I recall, when growing up in Scandinavia (or central Europe), we had very little severe weather. That has changed quite drastically and the past 20 years we have had records in temperatures, wind, snowfall and rainfall. The weather here is getting warmer, which brings on hurricane like storms in winter and autumn. Some of them cause similar damage as the hurricanes in the Atlantic, even inland.
And thank you for always finding the time to stop by.;)) xo

=Hilary,
yes, I was so happy when I found it right away and even found the batteries.;)) It is fun that it still works very well today.;)
Thank you for your always kind words my friend.;)

=Shelly,
yes, some people just get attached to things. I take after my grandfather - he had cabinets and drawers full of stuff.;))
xo

Beverlydru said...

You write well.... I always enjoy visiting here. I need to get one of those radios. I've been through more hurricanes than I can count and have the utmost respect for their power.

Gal Friday said...

I didn't expect this story when I first saw the picture of the radio and first started to read it. (I will have to read your older post about the hurricane experience!)

How frightening for you that you were in the middle of two bad storms already, although I don't recall those "names" myself.
The one I remember as being the worst in my own lifetime(there were two really bad hurricanes in Rhode Island in 1938 and 1954 before they "named" them)was Hurricane Bob(yes, the name stills makes me smile)in 1990...we were without power for a week, roads were impassable because of fallen trees, the ocean came up over the sea wall and left seaweed, huge rocks and debris in the road, and I even had to evacuate my house(I tok my cat with me--no way I was going to leave him there alone). I still know that this hurricane was more of a slightly destructive inconvience when all was said and done--there have been far worse natural disasters(like Katrina, the tsumanis in Indonesia and elswhere and earthquakes), so I still feel we were lucky.

Well, I hope you stay safe rom any other storms and always keep your trusty radio(even if you can't play it)

Gal Friday said...

..tsumanis..er,--tsuNamis... :-P

Gal Friday said...

..tsumanis..er,--tsuNamis... :-P

Protege said...

=Tina,
yes, hurricanes are devastating storms, I so feel for you as I know what you went through when you describe that in your comment.
Yes, the radio to this day reminds me of that time; and I do play it - still using the batteries.;))