Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 6:11 PM
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When the Teton dam broke in 1976, I was already living full-time in Portland. My brother was home for the summer in Idaho Falls and helped to sandbag the Broadway bridge. The flood never came anywhere near mama’s house.

I came home for a visit a month or so later and drove with mama to look at some of the damage. The town of Rexburg was about 80% destroyed. Sugar City, a tiny little town that boasted a cheese factory we had visited when I was small (I remember so well the man at the factory offering me a sample of curds, using a snow shovel for a scoop) was gone. Not damaged. Gone. Farmhouses and barns, those that were still recognizable, had been moved off their foundations and deposited in the midst of ruined fields surrounded by downed trees and mounds miscellaneous, unidentifiable “stuff.” Nothing was as I remembered it. The landscape I’d grown up in and knew like the back of my hand had been transformed into something unfamiliar, and I couldn’t get my bearings in it. I drove through this alienscape with tears running down my face. Even though much of it was rebuilt (although not, I think, the Sugar City cheese factory), it never seemed quite “right” to me afterward.

Eleven people died when the Teton dam collapsed. The monetary loss was said to be around $1 billion.

I cannot begin to comprehend the loss and damaged caused by Katrina’s little hissy fit in the Gulf. Nor can I begin to comprehend what the inhabitants of that area must be going through, what they will continue to go through for many months. My heart goes out to them.

This is about the 20th time I have tried to write about Katrina. Other, better writers have covered all aspects of the subject far more eloquently than I ever could. I find myself speechless.



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