When the power came back on yesterday, after 3 hours of having nothing do to but read (actual books printed on paper and not blogs or news sites), I turned on my TV to see footage of a flooded Louisville, Kentucky. As I watched footage of 10,000 library books ruined at the main library and cars driving through newly made rivers, I thought “Wow, that’s just like the great flood of ’97!”
As I slowly approach the age of 30, there have been several indicators of the aging process that have nothing to do with grey hairs or the number of pills I pop at night. I can remember when Green Day’s first video played on MTV, and when I do the math I realize that was 15 years ago. The latest milestone I noticed is that I have disaster stories to tell the young kiddies.
In 1997, I lived in Louisville, Kentucky and after I returned home with my family from seeing the special edition release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, I rushed to the basement to check that new-fangled thing called “e-mail.” I stopped on the third to last stair when I noticed that the floor looked rather shiny, far shinier than the textured linoleum usually looked. Then I realized I wasn’t looking at the floor at all.
“Mom,” I called up the stairs. “There’s water in the basement!”
“Where in the basement?” Her stressed voice called back.
“…everywhere.” And so it was that we waded through the basement, unplugging computers and picking up random floating objects, including a guitar case holding a remarkably undamaged guitar. The sump pump that was supposed to pump out over a foot and a half of water had broken and it took several days for all the water to finally drain back down into the sewer.
For the next week, my bus drove down I-71 to school which had turned into a land bridge, surrounded on both sides by water where usually there were roads and grass and houses. The tennis court at the Holiday Inn at the Zorn Avenue exit looked more like a water polo court. I had friends who could only leave their house by boat because the water had risen so high. River Road had actually become a river.
I wish the best for everyone down in Louisville, and I know in another decade people will be able to tell their own stories about the great flood of ’09.