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Spring Flooding

The winter of 1949 had been harsh, starkly white, and unsafe for a little girl to go out. I stared out the dining room window at my big naked friends, the Maple trees, wondering if they were asleep like Mommy said.

Sometimes I looked across the way and saw our neighbor, Mrs. Samalski, the Police Chief’s wife, through her window tending to her houseplants. I wondered why her plants weren’t asleep. Sometimes she saw me, smiled and waved at me.

Spring rushed in with unexpected warmth that nearly drowned us all. The Niagara river climbed over it’s banks.

Muddy water eddied in front of our doorstep, crept over the sill, and filled the basement overnight. I gazed out the window at the kaleidoscope patterns of the water as it rose around the house.

I was entranced by the sights and sounds outside as we waited for the boat rescuers. It wasn’t the roar of the water that piqued my curiosity; it was the human-like moaning of the trees as they fought to keep their roots in the thick clay soil, and the muck-sucking sounds when the flood tried to tear them out by the roots. Those tall proud Guardians won the battle as the waters swiftly receded.

After the water withdrew, I begged to go outside, so I could investigate the new sprouting green buds, and splash in water puddles (wearing my high galoshes, of course).

After all, my big brother had been out there every day since the flooding began, filling sand bags and shoveling mud with Daddy. It was a disappointment for me, once I got outside. All the beautiful mud patterns were gone and I struggled as the sludge grabbed my galoshes. Needless to say, I landed face down in the stinky stuff.

Discouraged, I dragged myself back inside and stayed safely behind my window as buds opened into lovely leaves. The sun dried out the earth, neighbors gathered together to clean up the mess as the days went by. Then, with my nose pressed hard against the window, I closely examined the newly blooming Lilacs at the base of our window, and welcomed their return.


  1. I love reading your stories...I've never been or lived anywhere that flooded like that, but when I lived in Arizona the street we lived on flooded every time it rained. The water would flow over the curbs and at night these huge toads would come out and sit in the water. I would have loved to run through the water, but it always rained at night and didn't think that was such a great idea.
    The lilacs at the end of your post reminded me of my grandma. She had a few lilac bushes and they were always the best smell in the yard.

  2. I think running among the toadies in the dark puddles would give me nightmares. Smelling Grandma's lilacs would give me sweet dreams!

  3. Water, Water everywhere, and nary a drop to drink. I like how you write so many different things.


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