In September of 1989, I was a 12 year old boy living in Charlotte, NC. I have forgotten the exact date when Hurricane Hugo came smashing into town but I will never forget the event. It was my fathers weekend to have the kids so we were bunked up at his house, about five miles from my mothers house. Mom was out of town that weekend and I remember waking up to the window thrashing open and the sound of loud popping noises. Within minutes of waking up, my dad came in to my room and instructed me to get in the hall way. My sister, dad, and I quickly made a pallet on the floor and I am pretty sure we all sacked out pretty quick. Well, I know my sister and I did.
The next day, we walked out of the house and I swear it was like nothing I had ever seen at that time and I also found out what that popping noise was from the night before. There were more gigantic old oaks laying on the ground then there were standing(this might be a slight exaggeration but not a huge one I promise). There was not 100 yards of passable/drivableto my recollection. Limbs and full trees blocked every direction. We took a walk around to access the damage and ran in to all the neighbors we knew and did not know. Everyone had the same look of disbelief on their face. Charlotte is approximately 200 miles from the coast so this type of a storm was unheard of. Well, from that point on it was kind of cool. No one had power for days so there was essentially just one big block grill out. Restaraunts in certain parts of town were grilling out for 100 people at a time and for free. The food was going to go bad anyways so might as well cook it up and have someone eat it right?
About 4-5 days later, the chainsaw guys had cut enough clearing in the roads to have people get around on a limited basis. Mom finally got back to town so when she arrived, we went to check on the house. Sadly, there was a 100 year old oak laying right in mom’s bedroom. With such a nice sized hole in the roof, the house was totally flooded! We moved back in with mom although the house was essentially condemned. Remember, I was 12 so I was loving the novelty of camping in my own home. To this day I have little memory how the storm effected my mother, father, or sister. All I know is we enjoyed simple pleasures for about three weeks by the light of a loaner gas fired camping lamp. Finally, we moved about three miles away to another small rental house.
Well, years later, I am a sculptor living on a tiny island in the low country of South Carolina. Since Hugo, I spent 4 years in Wilmington, NC from 1995-1999 which was the stormiest four years in NC history. I sat through three more hurricanes in that brief time on the NC coast. All of them were very, very interesting. I sat through all of them and there is nothing like watching and living through a hurricane. However, we all have our first love and Hugo is mine. That storm that caused NC alone approximately 1 billion dollars, was one of the highlights of my childhood. Just wanted to take the time to tell a little bit about the history I personally have with hurricanes in the event you were wondering. This sculpture is dedicated to Hugo.