When he was only two houses away from Dot, the whole day’s events started washing over him like a bad dream. He didn’t even realize that he was sobbing. All of the emotions from his harrowing journey home today and from his time as a sixteen-year-old at the end of World War I mingled together.
The adrenaline receded when he could finally see his house. It looked intact from his point of view. His next-door neighbor’s home also looked pretty good except for some lost shingles, storm shutters, and debris that littered the yard and street.
His yard looked much the same as his neighbors’ and then realized something was missing. Ah! his mailbox. The post it sat on had snapped at the base.
Gordon walked quickly to the front door. When he pulled open the screen door, a gust of wind ripped it off. The door flew across the porch and disappeared into the bushes.
He unlocked the front door.
She and Lee were curled up at one end of the couch. Dot put down their wedding album she had been holding close to her heart and carefully stood up, finding her center of gravity with her belly so far out ahead of her feet.
Gordon was sobbing at this point, unable to stop and without caring one bit. “Honey! Dot?” Gordon limped over to her, sobbing in deep, bassy tones.
Dorothy held out her arms and Gordon fell to his knees, his energy and feelings draining out of him. He wrapped his arms around her belly, his ear planted squarely up against her, trying to hear any sound or feel any kick from their little baby.
Dorothy placed her hands on top of his head, cradling him as he started to wail loudly. “I’m so sorry for being an imperfect man, Dot. I love you so much — and Lee and the baby. I don’t deserve any of you.”
Dorothy gently lifted his chin so they were looking at each other. “Gordon, you have nothing to apologize for. Look! You came home to us in THIS. There has not been one day, not one minute that you have ever failed me or this family. Your heart is big enough to keep us all safe, warm, and prosperous, of that I have no doubt.”
The story of Gordon and Dorothy is fictional. Many of the details in the story regarding the damage and events of the 1938 hurricane are taken from the public record.
“The 1938 hurricane was the worst natural disaster in American history — a gale that wreaked more death and havoc than either the great Chicago fire or the San Francisco earthquake. Even today, the numbers are startling. Almost 700 people perished as the result of the storm, and 2,000 were injured. More than 63,000 people lost their homes. Almost 20,000 public and private buildings were destroyed, and 100 bridges had to be rebuilt. The cost of the damage totaled more than ($7 Billion in 2020 dollars). Only about four percent of the businesses lost were insured. Many, struggling to stay afloat through the Great Depression, finally sank in the Great Hurricane.”
*Hurricane from space photo is public domain 1.0.