[elmira-ny.com] - Keeping memories alive...photo courtesy of Tom Drum...

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  - Bill McDonald -

I was, at the time, in the Air Force and stationed in Charleston, SC, and happened to be home for supposedly a few days. My mom and I trekked over to Brands Park and then down by Dunn Field to asses the situation and the water was close to the top of the dikes. Later that day my dad, who was a city Police Officer, called and suggested we move stuff up to the 2nd story.

We ended up trekking over to southport to my grandparents house with a few of the neighbors. One neighbor was on oxygen, and his wife tried to drive their car into the backyard to facilitate loading him. Needless to say, the car got mired and had to remain behind.

Finally, late in the evening I think, we got a call from my dad to come and pick him up at the foot of one of the bridges, Main St? Well, he hoofed it from City Hall, over the bridge, and I picked him up there.. Maybe it was Lake St. Not really sure. I had never seen my dad scared like that before.

It seems the river was full of massive trees coming down the current, and as each of them hit the bridge, the bridge would shake like it was in an earthquake! I have a photo somewhere of the beginning of the storm. It is a time delayed shot probably from the evening before. I captured 3 lightning strikes.

An additional memory I have of the flood. My parents lived on Luce Pkwy (close to Dunn Field), and just a few days before had bought a whole freezer full of steaks and various meats. I'd guess it was about a week later that we got back into the house, and the cellar where the freezer was located still had about 4 feet of water in it. I had a head-mounted flashlight on, a plastic laundry basket, and was sifting through the waters for all of this meat that was rotting, and stinking, and just plain ole disgustin! I'd load up a basket and pass it up the cellar stairs for disposal! I swear I can still smell the stench.