Thursday, February 23, 2012

Remembering the Ash Wednesday Storm!

Having grown up in Delaware and spent many happy summer vacations "at the beach," I remember the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 clearly, and realized yesterday, as we marked Ash Wednesday, 2012, that the 50th anniversary of that event will soon be here.

What a storm! At left is a newspaper shot of the storm raging off Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where my family used to vacation. We stayed often in that very hotel pictured, the Henlopen, which was heavily damaged. It looks to me as if the boardwalk I expected to see in the photo above has been completely washed away.

The storm arrived early in March, a perfect nor'easter, and perched over the mid-Atlantic coast through 5 complete high tides.  At least 40 people died, and many communities suffered heavy damage.  A childhood friend and her family lost their summer home in Fenwick Island, Delaware -- everything was gone but the foundation pilings -- and such a loss was not unusual.

I lived to the north and inland, near Wilmington, where the weather event took the form of heavy snow.  My elementary school was hosting a Book Fair and Spaghetti Dinner, which I recall attending, but getting there was not easy.  Next day, we learned of the devastation along the coast.

The storm is ranked as one of the ten worst of the 20th century. Read more about it here.


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Seasonal Disappointment Disorder

I'm a victim of an affliction I like to call Seasonal Disappointment  Disorder.

This is a fancy-sounding way of saying I don't like the weather. One simple question: where's winter?

People with Seasonal Disappointment Disorder, you see, like seasons, and, as creatures of habit, get all discombobulated when the seasons don't flow smoothly by. We like predictability. We like consistency.

We assume, if we buy a nice, red parka with fake fur around the neck and hood, we will actually be able to wear that garment during the winter -- even if we do look like Kenny from South Park when the hood is pulled up. OK, I'm exaggerating (but not about the resemblance to Kenny). I have actually worn the parka two or three times this winter. But, most days, my poor old green quilted jacket is getting a run for its money.

So, where's winter? Yesterday it was 61 degrees here in the Delaware valley. On our way to the commuter train, I and my fellow travelers shed layer after layer of winter clothing, like snakes shedding their skins. Good thing we didn't leave them behind on the ground, like so much litter.

Don't get me wrong -- I do like the teensy weeny heating bills this winter. But I also like enough snow and cold to remind me that winter has arrived, and to allow me to snuggle in front of the fire with my dogs, sipping a cup of tea. On my porch at home is a woodpile, which looks almost exactly the same as it did in October, when my son stacked the wood for me. I'm sorry -- I feel silly building a roaring fire and then opening several windows because of the heat.

I'm getting a little old to blame it on hot flashes.