REPOST – My Dad’s Columbus Day Storm Story

This blog originally appeared on October 14, 2012.

It is a time-honored tradition for parents to bore their kids by telling them the same stories over and over and over again. I am personally looking quite forward to boring my own child with my stories. First I’ll tell them to her, then I’ll make her read this blog. Yes, I’m going to be an overflowing fountain of quotidian repetition.

Perhaps I’m overcompensating a tad, to make up for the fact that when I was a kid I was rarely treated to stories from my parents’ pre-kid life.* The stories I did hear came from my dad, and the one story I heard over and over again, year after year, was the Columbus Day storm story.

I realize I’m a couple of days late posting this story, but not as late as you might think. In America we’ve taken to “celebrating” Columbus Day observed, which is reserved for a Monday so workers can get a three-day weekend. (Except I don’t know anyone who actually gets Columbus Day off save for the postman, and I only know that because I tried to post mail last Monday.) Actual Columbus Day is October the 12th and has been for over 500 years.

In keeping with my blog’s wishy-washy “should I actually post this story” theme, I hesitated to post this famous story because I wasn’t sure there was enough of a story to tell. As best as I can remember it, after hearing it at least 20 times, the story goes like this: My grandparents, my dad and my aunt all moved into their new house on Columbus Day, during a storm, and the electricity was out. That’s it. From beginning to end. Doesn’t seem like much, does it?

Upon fact-checking that actual Columbus Day was actually October the 12th, I stumbled upon a crucial part of the story that, for whatever reason, hadn’t previously registered with me. My dad’s family didn’t move into the house during storm, they moved into the house during the storm. The Columbus Day storm of 1962. It’s famous. According to Wikipedia, the storm, “is a contender for the title of most powerful extratropical cyclone recorded in the U.S. in the 20th century.” And this year, being that it is 2012, was the fiftieth anniversary of that storm.

Officially, or perhaps finally, intrigued, I pressed my dad for more details on the infamous story. He said that the roads were a mess as they drove a van back and forth from Parkland to Puyallup several times, dodging branches and driving circuitous routes to avoid the debris in the road.

So yes, the storm was a big deal and yes, it was an extremely ill-timed moving day, but if you’re wondering why I had to repeatedly hear a story about a house my father moved into fifty years ago, it’s because my dad still lives there. In fact, this home has been occupied exclusively by Scotts. My Grandparents had it built in the ’60s and my parents took it over in the late ’70s. It’s where I grew up. So not only was the twelfth of October 2012 the fiftieth anniversary of the storm, it was also the fiftieth anniversary of the house.

Here’s a picture of the house the day I came home from the hospital.

And here’s a picture I took earlier today.

So happy birthday house! I look forward to many more years hearing the story of your birth on a dark and stormy night in October.



About suitejen

Writer. Video Editor. Mama.
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