I just read Berta's post on the Teton Flood.
It brought back many similar memories. Like her I was pregnant. I was 8 months along with Rachel. I also had a three year old named Andy. I was left homeless that day. I will never forget hearing on the radio that the Teton Dam had broken apart. The announcer kept saying "get out". Everyone get out of the way of the flood that was bearing down on the valley. We were in Ashton camping. We headed to the little grocery store to get emergency supplies as we knew we could not get home that night. The store was nearly empty by then. I then heard on the national news that a wave of water 15 feet deep was headed towards Rexburg. I had to find a phone so I could call my mom and tell her that I was OK. I knew they would be so worried. No cell phones in those days. We spent the night listening to the emergency broadcasts on the pick up radio. Announcements about contaminated water, fires, even snakes in the water. And the water continued on down the valley clear to the American Falls reservoir near Pocatello.
All the while I kept thinking we would be OK as our home was a half mile from the river. Ah silly me for thinking that.
When I got back to Rexburg there was nothing left. Including my home. We did however get some possessions out of it.
I remember to this day the stench of the "flood mud" I still go in old buildings and get a whiff of that unique mix of stuff that was mixed in it.
I remember the steady stream of people from Utah that came to help clean up the mud.
I remember sitting one Sunday at the Ricks College cafeteria eating dinner. The lady across the table cried the whole time. I did not have the energy to console her. I was about to have a baby and had nowhere to take it home.
I remember eating Red Cross sandwiches and thought they were terrible. Dry stale bologna sandwiches. And getting little hygiene kits, just like we make for Humanitarian services now.
I remember helicopters flying overhead all day long hauling cars and dead animals out of the river bottoms. Got so I did not even look up any more.
I remember the security getting into Rexburg. Armed guards on the highway stopped you and you had to show proof that you lived in Rexburg.
I remember the tangled mess of houses along the road heading out of town. Just tossed along the wayside. Cars were tangled up in trees.
What an experience. Every time I see the news about floods or tornado's or hurricanes I do remember what it was like. The smells, the fears, the horror, the sadness and finally the triumphs as you overcome the disaster. Thirty two years ago today.