Remembering Hurricane Carol
Did you witness Hurricane Carol in 1954? Tell me about it! And if you have a picture you're willing to share, that's all the better. I'd love to hear from you and I'll add what you have to say to our "Your Views" page. So if you have something to share, please:
Send me email, Greg Stone
This was a real nice shock - the Providence Journal called for what I assumed was a few paragraphs in a general story about Hurricane Carol. Instead it turned out to be a story devoted to this Web site and it ran on Page 1 on the 50th anniversary of the Hurricane.
They did an excellent job and the result was a real surge of hits on the Web site and many new stories from people about their own experiences. (What I like most about this was I didn't promote the Web site to them - they discovered the web site on their own and contacted me. )if you have a problem getting to it, try here.
In 1954 I was 13 and the most exciting thing to happen was Hurricane Carol. I took pictures during the storm and after the storm, made them into sets, and sold them to neighbors. Here are the pictures and my memories along with those of family and friends. Greg Stone 1>
Going out, but still awash
This is Mathewson Road directly in front of our house, looking towards Robbins'. Obviously the water has receded, but on the left you can see the little dry hill that was part of our front yard, and the road is dry where I am standing to take this photo. (The river is to the right.)
It really seemed quite calm as the storm peaked. We assumed, later, that what we experienced was the eye of the storm, but I'm not sure. The wind would pick up again later and the tide would rush out with dangerous force. But for the moment, rowing down the street seemed a sane thing to do and my brother, Don, remembers well rowing our 12-foot skiff right up to the first floor windows on the Robbins' house.
From the perspective of a 13-year-old this was all strange, exciting, and wondrous. Wondrous that you could actually row down a road that you usually rode your bicycle on! There was a little fear, but in total the experience was so exciting that for a long time I would track hurricanes on a map, secretly hoping that another would hit us. I know that must sound terrible to those who have lost loved ones or property in such a storm, but such was my boyish outlook. I would outgrow it, at least on an intellectual level. I eventually took the neutral position that hurricanes were bad things, but they were also out of our control. My wanting one to come or not wanting one to come had no more impact on the hurricane than my wishing for the Red Sox to win a pennant had on their fortunes. What I decided was that if fate sent us a hurricane, then I wanted to be there in the thick of it.
But these days it's quite different. Hurricanes get tons of press. The satellite photos are majestic and hurricanes give the TV weather folks a field day. They love to stand out in the wind and the rain, cameras running, and tell folks to stay indoors and away from danger. I don't blame them. I understand that feeling - but the older you get the sillier it looks. And now I feel a little different. Our house in Westport sits on top of a hill and can really shake in a high wind, and there are trees that would threaten our sunroom - and as you get older you simply feel more vulnerable. But if a hurricane does come our way, what can I do about it? Just stay snug and enjoy the magnificent force of nature - and hope others are safe and dry as well.