Whenever the news media starts their unending hurricane coverage, my thoughts always turn to memories of my Dad. I automatically think of my dad whenever I hear of a bad hurricane hitting the gulf coast. After all, how many people do you know who weathered the dirty side of one of the largest gulf coast hurricanes while staying right on the Galveston seawall.
It was early September in 1961, just before my 9th birthday when Dad and a convoy of other Southwestern Bell employees headed for Galveston. Since heavy flooding from the storm was likely, the telephone repair crews were moved into Galveston before the storm so they could begin work immediately after the storm went through. Carla was a slow moving storm and the phone crew was in the hotel for at least two days before they could begin work.
Over the years I’ve always enjoyed Dad’s stories of his 2 days of inactivity, stuck in the Galvez. He painted a vivid picture of a hotel without electricity, with all of the windows blown out, with large waves hitting the seawall with such force that the water sprayed all of the way over the large building.
While telling these stories, Dad never said that he was scared or particularly worried about dying on Galveston Island. I always got the feeling that the part he liked the least was not being able to get out of the hotel. Dad always loved the outdoors and he spent a lot of time fishing and hunting on the gulf coast. I’m sure it was hard for him to be so close to the water without being able to throw a cast net and set a trot line.