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Chasing The American Dream

August 26, 2005


I survived another one. I was lucky once again. Hurricanes can be like anything else in life. The first experience can be a scary one, but you learn and gain confidence with each subsequent event. I still remember my first hurricane. Cleo hit Miami in 1964 as a category 2 hurricane. I was only two, but I remember being scared shitless, huddled in our house, hoping the windows and doors wouldn’t break. I remember my mother telling me, “See, that wasn’t so bad.” I smiled and felt confident, even at two-years-old, that I’d made it through the big bad hurricane. Betsy hit Miami in 1965 as a cat 3 (hurricane terminology for us veterans). Betsy was bad, but I was less scared and more in awe of nature’s fury.

My next hurricane recollection was Hurricane Inez in 1966. We drove through the outskirts of Inez as we moved from Miami to Houston. I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. I guess I understood hurricanes and just marveled at the lightning, the sideways rain, and that certain noise that a hurricane makes as the wind blows 100 miles per hour.

And so it went. I’ve been through hurricanes in Houston and been through them again after moving back to Florida. The worst hurricane in U.S. history blew through Miami almost 13 years to the day. I was lucky once again. I lived 350 miles North of Miami at the time. But my mom was down there and she had me on the phone as Hurricane Andrew roared through Miami with winds gusts in upwards of 200 miles per hour. That kind of fury I’ve not experienced. I visited mom a week later and witnessed what looked like World War III. It truly looked like a war zone. Andrew is a big topic of discussion down here and probably always will be come hurricane season.

Last year, I think there was something like 12 hurricanes that formed within a two-month period. I think I prepared for four of them, of which, two of them came skirting by Plantation. It’s become routine now. Prepare, join the frenzy at grocery stores and buy your supplies, fill up your gas tank, that is, if you can find any, turn on the news, and wait it out. Katrina was supposed to be almost a non-event. A minimal category 1 hurricane. I’m sure you’ve seen the news stories today. You’d never know it was a minimal hurricane. I heard some pretty big crashes last night and walked around to find huge trees felled by ‘minimal’ winds. One poor soul, a fellow Plantationite, was killed by a fallen tree. So as I say, I was lucky once again.

I think most people are fascinated by thunderstorms and the like. Hurricanes certainly satisfy this curiosity. It’s hard to explain their fury. They’re fierce, but they don’t scare me. Experience, preparation, luck, and staying put have been a good hurricane formula for me. Play it safe people; don’t challenge mother nature.

For pictures of Hurricane Katrina, see the following links:


photo courtesty of WNBC6, Miami.


  • Again, glad you're safe, darlin'. Since the hurricane shifted, does this mean that you're still going to the concert tonight?? Can't wait for the review!

    By Anonymous ~Kabe, at 8:32 PM, August 26, 2005  

  • plant, glad to hear you are ok after the storm. i know you are a fan of SK's, but i thought you might find this blog (and the corresponding blogs related post) interesting.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:05 PM, August 26, 2005  

  • I'm happy to hear you're safe!

    For some reason, I've never been afraid of hurricanes. I almost enjoy them- there's a certain ENERGY in the air when they're coming.

    I went to Miami (we have a lot of family there) after Hurricane Andrew, that's something I'll never forget. I remember in particular there was a palm tree with a car bumper lodged through the wood in the very top of the tree. I was amazed. Someone took out most of the bumper but the metal scrap was still there years later, I would look for it every year as we drove by.

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 10:07 PM, August 26, 2005  

  • and i think i may have to get you one of these t shirts for chanukah!


    again, glad to hear you are ok after the hurricane!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:09 PM, August 26, 2005  

  • My brother lives in Punta Gorda, the area that was devasted by Charlie last year. His house had minimal damage, but his neighborhood was wrecked.

    We've had 'canes where I live, but usually by the time they reach us the cold water shoos them away, and we get the tail end of them... except for Bob. He was a cat 2, but our winds were sustained at 80mph so it wasn't so bad. Boston is the sister city to Chicago when it comes to wind, we're used to it.

    I've been thinking of you and am glad to hear that you're okay.

    Still groovin' to your CD's!

    By Blogger Mari, at 10:57 PM, August 26, 2005  

  • Hey you ;) It's me, Ms London only a few states over from you as I type! I had to find internet access today to see how things were going with you. After turning on the news and seeing where Katrina hit, I was worried sick about you! Glad you are fine. All is well here and it is so good to spend time with my family. My baby niece is PERFECT!
    Will be back in London on Tuesday. Will touch base then. Again, glad you are safe!!

    By Blogger Amanda, at 9:05 AM, August 27, 2005  

  • Glad you are ok. I was very surprised to hear that 4 people died in Florida because of Katrina.

    We still have concrete walls down over at my area from last years hurricanes. Not sure why it isn't fixed yet, more of a hazard than anything else if any other hurricanes hit the Orlando area

    Well if any other of those buggers come by, good luck to you. Keep safe =)


    By Anonymous Darcy, at 9:32 AM, August 27, 2005  

  • Anon, I don't find Stephanie bashing interesting. I know her personally and she is a friend of mine. So, all you SK bashers can stop referring me to anti-SK blogs cuz I really don't care.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 11:43 PM, August 27, 2005  

  • Thanks everyone for the well-wishes. It's still crazy here. Lots of people still without power, stores closed, trees down everywhere.

    Amanda, have a safe trip back.

    By Blogger Plantation, at 11:44 PM, August 27, 2005  

  • I know for a fact that the Green Day concert went on, my brother was there. He claims it was one of the best concerts he has ever been to!

    SoFla was too lucky with Katrina, look at what Cajun country is about to get. Ouch.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 7:13 PM, August 28, 2005  

  • Hi Cleo!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:31 PM, August 29, 2005  

  • Well...I arrived in Miami when Katrina was coming...just the time to be in my hotel and then Katrina started to be "aggressive", and I passed all the night watching her from the window...

    But I survived and now I am safe in Naples...:-)


    By Anonymous Elisa, at 12:33 AM, August 30, 2005  

  • This post is a bit late I suppose..sorry I'm slacking on the blog surfing.
    All I can say is, take all hurricanes seriously. If they ask you to evacuate, get out. If they don't, prepare and have your supplies ready.
    Obviously, we see why in the Gulf Coast.
    I've been studying them for a long time, although you guys have more personal experience with them.
    Scary, but amazing stuff.

    By Blogger Gatsby, at 6:54 PM, September 05, 2005  

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