Last night's storm reminded me of when I was a kid growing up in good old Wisconsin Rapids in the 1980's.
It's probably the first storm I've seen in Milwaukee that reminded me of the storms we sustained up north, even thought the meteorologists pointed out that we've had four "once in a hundred years" type storms since in the last 25 years: in 1986, 1999, 2008, and now.
We were fortunate enough not to lose power during the downpour, unlike many of our neighbors to the north and south.
We had only a trickle of water in the basement, which is likely due to the fact that our neighbor to the west has no gutters on her house. We stayed dry and cozy inside, watching the lightning dance off of nearby commercial buildings and literally light up the sky. Some of the flashes seemed cinema-like, as if we were in a theater watching a seen from the" Amityville Horror;" others just cast a soft glow or a crack across the glistening and somewhat puddle pavement. The thunder rumbled continuously like the finale of a giant fireworks display.
Growing up in Rapids, tornado season was actually a season, when seemingly (at least to a kid) once a week, we had to shuttle to the basement as the sirens and the power went off, while my dad went and smoked on the porch and watched clouds swirl around.
The basement in our first home, an old farmhouse, was one of those pull-up double doors from the bathroom floor with a rickety wooden staircase-again, straight from a horror film. After mom became friends with the neighbor, we'd go into their large, uncluttered basement instead, where we could ride bigwheels around the support posts or play ping pong with the older kids amongst candles and camping lanterns. Storms were less scary when you had something to look forward to.
When we were older and moved out to the rural areas, a power outage also meant there was no water.
Mom and dad kept a stash of flashlights and candles nearby and a battery-powered radio that my dad would set to a combination statio…Read more...