F is for Flooding Susquehanna River. Sixth of twenty-six posts in the April 2020 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Endwell: My Elementary Years”— where my genealogy journey germinated. Wish me luck!
The schools I attended were on elevated ground well above the flood plain. But on my street, the river was a constant presence during my elementary years. And in spring, the flooding Susquehanna River was the stuff of childhood nightmares.
“A river way over there.”
My dad bought our family’s first house, a small Cape Cod, in the late 1950s without realizing how close it was to the Susquehanna.
“The real estate agent stood in the back yard, pointed at some trees in the distance and said there was a river ‘way over there,’ ” Dad told me. “Well, the following spring, the river flooded and the water was lapping at the edge of our back yard!”
An unnerving experience
The Susquehanna at flood stage was unnerving — water as far as the eye could see out our kitchen window, where I watched my classmates Diane and Louie on the next block travel home in small motorboats to houses that seemed to float atop the water.
When the river rose, grownups moved cars to higher ground and everyone crossed their fingers that the waters would not reach their homes!
As a child, I was among the hopeful each spring — yet I still slept fitfully in my second floor bedroom and awoke with a start from troubling dreams of the house filling with water from the uncontrollable Susquehanna River.
A return to normal
But after the spring freshet subsided, the land was lush and green. The Italian family on the next block grew a huge vegetable garden behind our back yard; the pear tree by their house bloomed and grew heavy with fruit; and every puddle brimmed with tiny toads for us children to catch.
And by summer, swarms of lightening bugs glowed in the night as I sighed with relief that the mighty Susquehanna River had once again spared our home from its swirling waters.
Up next: Grandparents and Aunt Rita. Please stop back.
© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.