HURRICANE! A Small Memory of the Hurricane of 1938

... how I missed all the excitement

Virginia Hanley

In September, 1938, the public was not very knowledgeable about hurricanes. We had not experienced one in Melrose for many years and we did not know what to expect.

It was windy that day but, when I came home from grammar school, I dropped my books off at my house at 77 Maple Street and walked down the street to visit my Hanley grandparents who lived at 97 Maple Street for my afternoon cup of tea.  Their house was on a curve and the bay window in the living room faced down the street towards Main Street. As the sound of the rushing wind rose, Grandma and Grandpa were not about to let me walk back down the street to my own house.

So, we sat there and watched the trees and bushes bend and sway, losing twigs and branches but none were uprooted while we watched. I didn't mind staying inside, since I was not an adventurous child, until I finally went home about 8:00 o'clock and discovered that my mother and two older brothers, not realizing the danger the winds represented, had gone out as soon as the wind had begun to abate and watched the trees crash down around them. There were many maple trees damaged but I don't remember any of them being uprooted.

There I was, right on the threshhold of a major weather event and I sat meekly inside and never even tried to go out in it. Believe me, my brothers never let me forget that they braved the dangers of the storm and I didn't!

September 1, 2000

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