Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18, 1980

While looking at Facebook this morning, I was reminded that today is the anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's.  It has been 32 years since she blew her top.

May 18, 1980 was a Sunday.  I was a 6-year old living in Eastern Washington at the time.  I vividly remember my brother (then 3) and I were playing outside when it suddenly started to get dark.  This was highly upsetting:  dark meant bedtime and how could it be bedtime when we hadn't even had lunch yet?  But, nonetheless, we went inside to get ready for bed.

We didn't really understand what was happening when told a volcano erupted.  We also had no concept of Western Washington.  We knew of places like New York and Las Vegas-that's where Grandma lived.  But that was the extent of our understanding of the world. 

Dad packed us up in the car and took us to "Tickle Hills" to watch the ash come in.  I honestly have no idea where "Tickle Hills" is or what it's real name is; that's just what we called the fun road in the country that made your stomach drop when you went down the hills (*).  And there were a lot of hills!  As a grown-up, all I can think is that would be a real bitch to navigate in the winter when the roads are covered with snow and ice!  (I also have a feeling if I were to travel it now, I'd be all "Really?  This is it?")  The hills were much more exciting than the ash-it just looked like grey snow.  And being that it was now spring, snow was pretty anti-climatic.  Been there, done that!

We received enough ash that we had to wear masks to leave the house.  Dad had several bottles of it that he kept for years.  I wonder what happened to them?  Ultimately, it was decided to cancel the rest of the school year, so technically, I never finished kindergarten.  It doesn't seem to have affected my life too badly...

Several years ago, James and I decided to take a drive one day.  It was a "let's see where this road goes" type of drive.  We ended up at Mt. St. Helen's.  It was the first time either of us had ever been there.  And it was amazing.  Everything was all lush and green and then we literally rounded a bend and could see nothing but devastation.  The mountain is still recovering.  And every now and then she threatens to blow again. 

The biggest sense of amazement I have remembering this is that I'm actually old enough to remember something that happened over 30 years ago.  How the heck did that happen?!?!

(*Out of curiosity, I Googled it, not expecting to find anything.  Turns out the name of the road really is Tickle Hills Road.  Huh.  Who would have guessed?)

1 comment:

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