Went to see The A-Team today on the recommendation of two friends, who shall continue to be friends despite having sentenced me to an eternal loss of two-plus hours of my life. But not all is lost. I did get another installment of my life juxtaposed with reality. It’s stranger than fiction, believe me...
Sitting in the darkened theater waiting for the feature to begin, I watched a commercial for Hershey Park and thought back to the time in June 1972 when Gilda and I were in that area of Pennsylvania and barely escaped with our lives. In researching the details, turns out our brush with danger happened on this exact day, June 22. Eerie.
As explained in a previous blog (http://nosocksneededanymore.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-first-job-story.html), after graduating with an MA in journalism I traveled to many newspapers searching for that elusive first job. Gilda and I packed up my Buick Skylark for a trip to Delaware, Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania. Riding through northern Delaware we drove in and out of torrential downpours so thick that sometimes we had to stop the car under an overpass because we couldn’t see out the windshield. After each cloudburst, the sky would brighten.
We plied on, heading towards Harrisburg. It was late in the afternoon when we hit Hershey. We stopped at the Hershey Inn, but the price of a room was way too high for a not yet employed reporter. Everywhere else we looked, however, had no vacancies. We were about to swallow our pride and budget and go back to the Hershey Inn when we came across a motel built like an old Victorian home. It had a room, in the basement, next to a steep driveway. Though she was currently renting a basement apartment in Brooklyn, Gilda had no desire to spend the night underground, so we pushed on, fortuitously discovering the newly opened Milton Motel sitting on a slight bluff less than half a mile away. We took a room, ate dinner at a nearby restaurant, went to bed and slept right through Hurricane Agnes which at the time was considered to have caused the worst flooding in U.S. history (http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/story/33039/remembering-agnes-flooding-in.asp).
On both sides of the Milton Motel roads were impassable beyond half a mile, and remained that way for more than a day. We weren’t too inconvenienced. We played cards. As the motel still had power, we watched some TV. And we had our choice of restaurants, a fast food hamburger joint to the right of the motel, a fried chicken place to the left. Only one thing kept us from fully enjoying the experience. Within our arc of comfort lay the Victorian-style motel, now submerged in water up to the second floor! Not being a swimmer, I shuttered to think what I would have done if water had gushed into our basement room.
In recent days, floods have killed scores of people worldwide. Had it not been for Gilda’s reluctance to spend another night below grade, I, we, might not be here today, 38 years later.