The Flood and Other Musings From 1982 and 1983

My memory of what exactly happened when during the period of 1982 and 1983 was a little sketchy, so you will have to excuse my meandering thoughts.

Like I said in my last post, 1982 started out a bit differently than the previous years–a major flood hit the Santa Cruz area. Getting home from school that fateful day was a bit more challenging than usual. A lot of places, including Granny’s house, ended up being without power for several days. Outside of the cities, especially in the mountains, roads were treacherous. Up on Bear Creek Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains, there were mudslides galore. We used old fashioned oil lamps for lighting. We may have had gas heat, I can’t remember now. But everything else was a challenge without power.

I was recently reminded of my experiences back then when we had our wind-induced power outage for a couple of days. We didn’t have heat in our house thanks to the electric-fired blower, and it was downright cold in our house. Unlike back in 1982 where we were poor, outages were more widespread, and basically had no choice but to deal, in this last round of outages up here, we stayed in a hotel for two nights.

One thing that was particularly cool about the third grade, which I was in during the early part of 1982, was that I had a blind teacher named Mr. Jones. Yes, they let him teach, and yes he had sighted assistants in the classroom. I don’t remember much about his teaching abilities, but he was a fantastic story teller. He always had these fun stories about Jack and the crazy things he used to do. I’m sure there was some moral to the stories he told, but they were one of the best parts of the class.

Mr Jones as also big on music. His classroom was where I heard Buddy Holly and many other popular musicians from the 1950s. We also used to sing what I later learned was Tom Lehrer’s Pollution song.

To put some perspective on this, I essentially had two people in my life at this time that were disabled in some way–Granny in her wheelchair, and Mr Jones without his eyesight. They got along in the world just fine, and this was before there was all these legal requirements to make things more accessible. I mention this not because I am against these requirements, but because I saw that, despite physical handicaps, it was possible to function in the real world. It is inspiring to think about now.

I’m starting to lose track of when this exactly happened, but I believe at the time, mom was living in the guest house of an airline pilot out in Bonny Doon. I was living with dad, but I would come visit her from time to time. The guest house was basically a small kitchen and one large room. When I stayed with mom, I would sleep either in a floor-level storage area that was more than large enough for me, or the large walk-in closet, depending on when exactly we’re talking about. Kind of weird to think about now.

During one of these visits, my mom had taken me and my friend to Bonny Doon Beach, where as I previously described, I broke my arm. I remember lying on my mom’s couch that first night after I got the cast. I felt like crap and I couldn’t sleep. Everything was a challenge. Doing school work was a challenge. But I got through it with a wrist that won’t turn completely around.

Somewhere in there my mom also moved to Hawaii and was living in a condo with her long-time boyfriend Richard. I remember it being a big deal that I got to go over there. I can’t remember if I was supposed to be moving there or just visiting for a while, but I eventually came back. The problem with living in a condo, particularly in a complex where the condos were getting rented out for a week or two at a time, was that while there were a lot of kids there, most of them were transient. I spent a lot of that summer working at the miniature golf course next door. Made some money, played a lot of miniature golf. Discovered that the landscape guy for the condo owned the place. Stranger things have happened.

I’m sure there is more from this time, but the hour is late. There is plenty more in this deranged mind.






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