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» Saturday, September 21, 2013High Wind Over New England
When I was a kid, I didn't ask for fairy tales. Instead I'd say to my mother, "Tell the story about Pearl Harbor" (which was scary and sad all at once and I never could get the image out of my head of everyone just spontaneously going to church to pray) or "Tell the story about the hurricane" (which was thrilling and scary and as good as the Brothers Grimm). We also had what I called "the hurricane book" up in the attic; it was published by the Providence Journal in 1954 after Hurricane Carol roared through. It had comparison photos of the damage done by the Hurricane of '38 and done by Carol.
(The only big hurricane I remember was Donna, when I was not quite five years old. We had no power for three days, and, even worse, no milk! When the power suddenly came back on on the third day, my first remark was "Ohboy, I can watch TV now!" <grin> We lost a bunch of shingles off the roof, and the wind was so strong that it broke the television aerial which was mounted to the chimney and left a big crack in the latter which, patched, was still visible in 2005 when the house was sold.)
I didn't realize until it was too late that I never asked my dad about either one of those days and don't have his memories to go along with hers.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the Great Hurricane of 1938, also known as "The Long Island Express" from the speed in which it battered Long Island's southern shore area.
The National Weather Service's Retrospective
The Providence Journal (check out the videos page! in the newsreel footage narrated by Ed Herlihy, the scenes of the trolley underwater are from downtown Providence)
American Experience's "Hurricane of '38" Special (one of my favorite installments)
Suffolk County, New York, History
Personal Story in the New York Times
Two excellent books on the hurricane:
A Wind to Shake the World by Everett S. Allen (Allen started work as a New Bedford newspaperman the day before the hurricane struck; he certainly didn't lack for material)
Sudden Sea by R. A. Scotti (Scotti's imagery is very evocative; I was reading this for the first time on a windy, overcast day and when she got to the part where the hurricane struck I actually had chills)
Great Hurricane: 1938 by Cherie Burns (substandard but still interesting)
This is a new one which hasn't been released yet ($36...ouch! Think I'll wait for reviews):
Taken by Storm, 1938 by Lourdes B. Aviles