HURRICANE! Memories of a Near Disaster

... heard the crack of the tree breaking and slammed on the brakes ...

Bernadette Mahoney

The first memory I have of the l938 Hurricane is after it was over and I went outside. My dead-end street looked pretty much the same that day as it usually did after a bad nor'easter. But, when I walked to the corner and looked up Beech Avenue, there was the tremendous tree that stood between Bissetts' and Terrills' laying across the street. Its roots had been torn out of the ground and upended at least six feet in the air. The top of the tree had crashed onto the cement wall and lawn of the house across the street. Miraculously, there was no damage done, except, of course, for the huge hole in the ground where the roots had been. What a sight!

As I continued up Beech Avenue, I saw many branches and debris along the way, but I don't recall seeing any other large trees down. When I got to my brother Gene's house, my sister-in-law was worried about how Gene would get home. We learned later that Gene had heard the crack of the tree breaking and slammed on the brakes just seconds before the tree fell right in front of his car. A broken wire brought down by the tree lashed across the hood making a permanent mark. Since I couldn't recall how he got out of that perdicament, I called my sister Fran. Unfortunately, she couldn't remember either. After thinking about it, I decided that, if it had been a dramatic rescue, one of us would have remembered. Probably, once he pulled himself together and realized he was o.k., he just backed up and took a round-about route home.

While I was talking to my sister, I asked her what she remembered about the storm. She told me that that day was her first day of classes at Boston University and, as she traveled to Boston, so many things were flying around the train that it had to stop several times so that the debris could be removed from from the tracks. Her class, she said, became known as the class that came in in a hurricane and went out in a war.

September 1, 2000

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