The following blog might make sense to readers of a certain age, probably those who were born around the same time, or a little before or after me (1974).
All these crazy storms this weekend brought me back to about 10 years old. A time when "Waukesha, Ozaukee and Dodge" only meant one thing: that a storm was brewing.
I picture it being late May or maybe early September, and I'd be plopped down in front of the TV after school, watching "Scooby-Doo" on Channel 18. The skies would turn a peculiar shade of red or green, and I'd feel the pressure in my ears change.
Then, right as Shaggy was making a big sandwich, the programming would be interrupted by a red screen with yellow letters that read "TORNADO WATCH."
In my memory, I hear the announcer sounding a lot like the late Bob Betts, the PA guy from County Stadium (and for all I know, it could've been him). He reads a severe weather announcement from the National Weather Service, and invariably, something is going down in WASHINGTON and DODGE.
At this age, I had no idea where Washington or Dodge was.
They'd return to regularly-scheduled programming, and right around the time Scooby foiled the villain's plot, the announcer would cut back in. Now the tornado watch was effective for WAUKESHA, RACINE, KENOSHA, OZAUKEE and MILWAUKEE.
This was the time I'd start lobbying my parents to head for the basement. As I recall, they kept the level heads of adults, and in the rare occurrence when "watch" went to "warning," my mom, sister and I would head to the basement.
My dad, however, would sit on the porch, insisting he could "watch the storm roll in, then head to the basement."
That idea scared the crap out of me.
Even now, I feel giddy when weather turns severe, though that may be because local media goes totally nuts when it starts to rain. When I heard the tornado siren go off on Saturday -- and I can't remember the last time that happened -- I felt a rush of excitement.
And still, tornados are the first thing I think of when I hear about Dodge or Washington Counties.
Am I crazy, or is this a shared childhood experience? I'd love to know if I'm not alone.
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.