Disasters

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Even though this past year been filled with hardships, despair and sadness on July 4, 2021, we could still say, “Happy Birthday USA”. You have taken care of us through 244 years. Global wars, Civil War, territorial wars, epidemics and natural disasters have been a part of our history since the Pilgrims first set foot on Plymouth Rock, but for 244 years we have overcome and will continue.
In the file of my father’s “I Remember” columns in the Blade, I found this account of a terrifying time in Canoochee. The following was printed in the Blade January 15, 1953, two months before his death. I trust I have his permission to print. He wrote: I remember the Charleston earthquake (The shake as it was called). The dishes rattled. Chickens came off their roost. The stock was disturbed. Farm bells rang. People were screaming and praying like the end of the world had come. The shock was terrific for several minutes. Later shocks came at intervals for several days getting further apart and lighter each time until everything was normal again.
I remember how my poor father tried to comfort his frightened children. There was no means of communication in a rural place like Canoochee. We did not know what had happened until someone brought news from Midville where there was a telegraph office.

From reliable internet sources I learned that in 1886 the great Charleston, SC earthquake caused severe shaking in Georgia. Much of the southeastern United States experienced shaking that caused cracked walls, felled chimneys, broken windows and damage to buildings. According to my father who would have been three years in 1886, Canoochee received a part pf the great shake. I have to think that instead of an actual memory, my father (like me) is remembering stories that he had been told. What a story that was to tell.
Now we have advance warning on hurricanes, tornadoes, thunder storms and most severe weathers except for earthquakes. There is no proven way to predict earthquakes. When earthquakes occur, the media tells us the location and severity immediately. We do not have to wait for a telegram to reach Midville.
Can you imagine trying to calm your terrified children when you had no knowledge of what was happening? Write to Shirley at sptwiss@gmail.com

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