I’ve seen my share of hurricanes in my day. At age 3, Hurricane Elena hovered over my family’s then-home in Tampa, FL, for days while my parents were away on a vacation. My grandmother set up our Hurricane Headquarters in the central bathroom. It was at the center of the house with no windows, and made a perfect fort for a three-year-old with her seven-year-old brother. We had a sleeping bag in the tub, apple juice under the counter, and played hour upon hour of “pirate.” It was the best week of my toddler life.
Fast-forward six years to Hurricane Bob in 1991. My mom was due with baby #4 at the beginning of September, so she cut short our annual stay at the summer home on the Cape. My grandmother (the same as above) didn’t think it was fair for me to go home two whole weeks early, so she convinced my mom to let me stay on the Cape with her and my great-grandmother (who owned the house). I was psyched! A whole two weeks with the grammys! It was going to be awesome.
I was even more excited when I heard Hurricane Bob was barreling towards us. My mom swore she’d never leave me with my grandmother again (but she did). I had a sweet set-up in the corner of the kitchen, snuggled in a sleeping bag surrounded by cookies and some new books. And I had a perfect view of the old oak tree as it crashed down onto the house. No injuries, but we were without power for the remainder of that vacation. We had a gas stove and food in the freezer that needed cooking. I stayed up with the Grammies, talking by candlelight of their childhoods. I’ll never have another week like that in my life. Hundreds of games of cards and priceless memories.