Monday, July 13, 2009

~Memory Mondays

This is a night I will never forget. I was only three or four years old but it is vivid in my mind. Ask my mother or my brothers and I am sure they remember too!

The Big "Crack Storm"


The little white frame house on North Recker Road had seen better days. It was elderly with wrinkly, peeling paint. Its' once dark green window shutters were faded from having lived out their years in the Mesa sunshine. Inside the rooms were small and the wood floors creaky, but the family had made it a home. It had been uprooted and moved to the dairy to be a temporary home until a new one could be built. Mom had always kept it clean and filled with the scent of fresh baked bread, chocolate cake, and fried chicken. It was surrounded by mulberry trees and bordered a small citrus grove. Though it was old and small, it was snug and filled with love.

The little house had a secret. The family found out about it one dark, stormy night. Summer time in Arizona brings monsoon rains that pound on rooftops, fill dry creeks and desert washes, and make the city streets run like rivers. Little Marianne was awakened by loud booming sounds and movement in the house. Every few seconds the darkness in her room would be scared away by flashes of bright white light. Her mother came into her room and scooped her up from bed. She spoke softly and told Marianne that everything would be alright. The family was going to have an adventure! As they came into the front room Marianne saw a lighted candle on the table and one of her brothers had the "Big Beam" flashlight. He was shining it on the ceiling and making a shadowy bunny rabbit with long ears hop around. It was then that she saw the water running through spots in the ceiling. That was the little house's secret! It was leaky and couldn't keep the pounding rains from soaking its' family! The rain was filling up many of Mom's big bowls and pots that were scattered about on the floor.

Marianne thought, "it's raining in my house!"

Daddy, Dean, and Richard were loading pillows and blankets into the car, running in and out the back door trying not to get too wet. Mom explained that the family was going into town to sleep at Grandpa Ellsworth's house on South Nina Drive. The electricity was out and there was no way to keep cool in the muggy, hot little house. How strange it felt to take a car ride in her night gown in the middle of the night! Every flash of lightning made the sky as bright as day and Richard exclaimed,"Ooo look!" He was pointing at the sky through the rear window of the car. Marianne stood on the back seat between her brothers and bent backward to look straight up at the sky. With every flash there wasn't just one, two, or even three lightning bolts. No! The whole sky was covered with criss-crossing cracks of white light! No one in the car had ever seen anything like it! Marianne thought that the sky was cracking and that was how all of the rain was getting through!

"A crack storm!" she thought. She hoped pieces of the sky would not fall down on the car!

It was fun to sleep on beds made up on Grandpa's floor. It was one of Marianne's favorite places to be! Grandpa was there with his happy smile helping everyone get settled. It was hard to go back to sleep until Daddy said something about settling down because there were still chores to do early in the morning. Such is the life on a farm, sleepless night or not, the animals would be hungry!

In the morning the earth at the dairy was muddy and smelled of that wonderful damp dirt smell that people in Mesa just love! The ceilings inside the little house were soaked and water sat in puddles around full the pots and bowls on the floor. In the days that followed, Daddy and the boys would be up on the roof and in the attic repairing the leaks so the little house would be ready for the next big storm. The secret was out and all taken care of! More rains came but there was never one again like the Big Crack Storm of '60!

5 comments:

JAY- JEWEL -DAD said...

Where was Sharon on that night? I do remember those storms.

Marianne said...

Ummm...she was probably there but I only remember the brothers in the video in my mind! It could have been a bit later than 1960...in which case she was married to you! I don't think I was in school yet and Grandpa was still alive so it had to be before Aug. 1963

Gena said...

I remember feeling so small during those huge "crack storms". Dean assured me that the lightning was striking the ground in a far of land across the sea. After that I grew to enjoy the light show, and the thunder, a love my family shares today (it's been a great year for thunder in CO!).

URFAVE5 said...

I love the "Memory Mondays"! You have a real talent for telling stories. I can see everything just how you describe it in my mind.

I have to say I don't think people have lived until they have experienced a monsoon storm in Arizona. Quite the light show for sure!

Thanks again for sharing!

Love ya,
JoLynn

Lori said...

What a great memory . . . brings back similar memories of mine. We didn't live on a farm, but I remember how I use to wake up to those summer storms and want the whole family to wake up, go outside and play in the rain. That was unheard of and my mother said not safe. Well when my children were old enought I remember waking them up in the middle of a big storm to play in the rain. My mother wasn't there, just Doug, who thought I was off my rocker and endangering the children. Well we sure did have fun getting wet in our PJ's in the middle of the night.
Sorry I haven't commented on your blog lately. I just haven't been blogging too much . . . busy with summer stuff and work.