Wednesday, April 8
The Most Deadening Experience Of My Life
Part 3 ... The cars from the used car lots suddenly appeared, parked on the dirt road on the mountain directly across the street from us. Soon the hill was full. Daddy looked out the window and tossed the car keys to the boys. I went to my room with our maid and began to put my belongings up high. We threw all my shoes into a suit case and put them in the tiny attic space which was reached by pull-down stairs. What came next I don't know. I only remember piling things on my huge bed - drawers, records, jewelry, and everything I could get my hands on. We threw my clothes onto the high shelf in my closet and carried my books to the attic. In the whirling, ghastly kaleidoscope I remember seeing my small blond sister crying in choking sobs as she tenderly placed her china dolls and figurines on her bed, saying in a tearful whisper, "Mama, will they be all right?" I remember kneeling beside her and wondering the same thing. I remember seeing Mama feverishly piling her precious books on the highest shelves. I helped too. In the utter confusion we slammed useless things into safe locations, leaving valuable objects unprotected. I saw with relief that the boys had carried the new Hi-Fi upstairs. Running into my room I looked out the window. The yard was level with water! My stomach felt funny as I searched in disbelief for any sign of the swimming pool. We would have to evacuate soon, that was painfully evident. When the time came, Mother refused to go, saying that she would stay in the attic. I followed her example, but my refusal was useless. Stepping onto the porch and seeing the engulfing yellow, brown, and black water was the most deadening experience in my life. Gripping each other for support, one of the boys and I descended resolutely into the water. Never has anything been so cold and never will it be again! It cut like a knife up to our knees. Our teeth chattered and the current fought against us. Far up ahead we could see one of our neighbors with my sister on his back as he successfully crossed to the other side. Ahead of him bounded my other classmate, heedless of his footing, and waving my sister's suitcase madly above his head. By going diagonally against the current we had nearly made it across when the other boy plunged back to assist us.