Columbus Day Storm "was like a Halloween nightmare"

  • Wed Oct 10th, 2012 10:29pm
  • News

By Gale Fiege Herald Writer

Many people responded to the Herald’s request for recollections of the Columbus Day Storm of 1962.

A variety of their memories are in our main story about the anniversary of the storm. Here are some others:

Tom King of Marysville was 9 years old and living on his family’s farm near Marysville.

He had to help get 20-head of cattle out of the woods and into the barn.

“As soon as we had the cattle moved, the wind began to blow hard,” King said. “We could hear trees snapping and falling as the wind literally screamed and the power went out. My oldest sister was at the Marysville football game, and they called the game due to the high winds.”

At the Edmonds High School game, football center Lee McAllister, now 66 of Hansville, was nursing a sprained ankle and watching the game from the stands.

“Our kicker sent the ball up into the air, but in the wind, it ended up flying backward over his head,” McAllister said. “The game was canceled. We took off and dodged the trees on the way home.”

Gail Bertsch Chism, 67, of Everett walked with a friend over to the Lake Stevens football game, which by then had already been canceled.

“My friend and I liked to walk in storms, but this one was like a Halloween nightmare. We must have stepped over downed wires in the road,” Chism said. “We were really dumb, but we loved it. We were not aware of the danger.”

Sue Madison of Everett was at the Everett High School football game the night of the storm.

“The fans were told to leave the field,” Madison said. “Foolish 17-year-old kids that we were, my boyfriend and I drove around to see any damage that was happening instead of going home.”

Ronee Grannis Anderson, 64, of Marysville, remembers being at home in north Everett, wishing she were instead at the Everett High football game.

“My parents were at Hawthorne Elementary working the PTA Fun Night. My brother was sitting on the couch and he moved just in time,” Anderson said. “The front room window blew in. I remember the glass and the drapes flying out into the wind.”

Linda Wright, 71, of Lake Stevens, was a brand new, nervous mom. She and her husband brought their firstborn child home from Everett General that afternoon. Her husband went immediately to work for the swing shift at Weyerhaeuser.

“As the storm got worse, the TV was flickering, and without surge protection in those days, I turned it off. I tuned in to KRKO and listened to the Everett High School football, more for company than anything else,” Wright said. “I was happy to have my husband home that night, along with his assurance that the three of us would be all right.”

Marcia Marsh, 67, of Lynnwood, was a new driver on the night of the storm.

“I remember the drive back from Lake City to Shoreline after a movie,” Marsh said. “There were tree branches and electrical wires all over the streets. I was terrified. I still don’t like driving in storms.”

Sue Ellen White, 67, of Clinton, was a high school senior in Portland, Ore.

“The telephone poles in our neighborhood were waving back and forth, the trees were falling and everything that was not nailed down was blown away,” White said. “It was a shocking event, but it was also surreal in a warped, Dali-esque sort of way.”

Aileen M. Langhans of Everett was 9 years old and out at her family’s cabin on the Long Beach Peninsula on the day of the storm.

“We had to be told to get off the beach, not realizing how dangerous the storm was to become,” Langhans said. “In those days, the cabins were situated in from the water’s edge along the highway. It took about 15 minutes of running up and down the dunes to make it back to the cabin.

“When the storm reach its full fury, the waves came almost all the way to that cabin. It was truly scary. And what is even scarier is the fact that Pacific County and Washington state allow cabins to be built (much closer to the ocean.) What will happen if there is another similar storm or a tsunami? I hate to think about it.”