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Micky Gramlin
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As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story Part 8 The Final Entry

Published on 10/30/2016
For additional information  Click Here


Rockfield, Indiana

Carroll County

May 16,1968


The Final Entry


“The noise got louder and was drowning out what the man was yelling at us.  I thought I heard him say not to cross the street. “Mom he is telling us not to cross the street!” Yes, that is what he is saying, but why? The answer came.”  

“A wall of water about 5 feet in height rolled down the street in front of us. It was a flash flood.  Totally disgusted, I slammed my fist into my other hand.”


I don’t know what the others were feeling. As I stood watching the madness of what was occurring unfold before us, I thought to myself, “I cannot go on.”  The lantern of what appeared to be our only safe haven was swaying just on the other side and now impossible to reach.

There was no other place to go.  We were out in the open and it was still so dark you could barely see if anyone was standing beside you. The whole town seemed to have disappeared. It was almost as if we were in a fog that had turned black.

We were wet, exhausted and on the verge of shock. And then I thought about what might happen to us if Mom went into shock. No, I decided I did not want to think about that. I knew the storm clouds were gathering again and we had to do something.

I looked at the water and realized that if we had been any closer we would have been carried away or if we had made it across we would have been as well. The one blessing of the night I realized is that we were standing on higher ground and when a flash of lightning occurred, it looked like a small lake between us and the swaying lantern.

Mom quietly said, “We have to cross” No one said a word.  She knew our silence meant she was facing an argument ahead. None of us could swim. “The water is not as swift as it was and it won’t be deep for very long” she said.  We stood there silently. “We’ll put the tall ones at the end and in the middle of us. If we hold hands while we cross and if no one let’s go, we can make it” I heard myself say, “Okay”

Mom yelled out to the man, “We’re coming!” She got us positioned.  We walked into the water. Ankle deep. Then up to my knees.  I was just less than 5 ft. tall at the time. Then it was up to my thighs. I was one those at the end of our chain and had a hold of Jennifer’s tiny hand. Debbie was on the other side of her.  

I told Debbie; “Get ready to lift Jennifer up and try to keep her head above the water” It was waist deep and there was a slight pulling in the current. Almost up to my shoulders. I looked at Jennifer and said; “Just let your legs relax because we are almost there” She just replied, “Okay” The current still was not very strong. 

I began to get nervous when the water went over my shoulders and the current began to feel stronger but I did not dare to take my eyes off of the lantern. I began to lose the ground at my feet and so I started bouncing to try to keep at least one foot touching. Then we passed the deepest point. “Thank God!” I said out loud.

We never got completely out of the water until we got up onto the porch. The man raised the lantern up to take a good look at us all. I recognized my English teacher that lived across the street. Then we were inside.  The very first thing we did was get on our knees with prayer.

Mom started checking us for serious injuries. Miraculously only one of us appeared to need immediate attention and that was Tina. Her legs had been cut long and deep in a couple of places and fresh blood was coming out. It was determined that she need to be taken to a hospital.

The young friend that had stayed all night had quit bleeding from her head injuries. There was some blood coming from her ear but it was not life threatening. I had cuts and scratches on my face, arms and hands and my head and neck were hurting but nothing life threatening.

Then we heard people calling out our names. The teacher opened the front door and looked out across the street.  It was people from inside the town gathering to look for us and they were digging through the debris. He yelled out to tell them we were all over here. “They all survived!” He stepped out onto his porch and explained one child needed an ambulance.

Back in 1968 the phone lines were not buried, but were stretched out over poles on top of the ground. The storm had ripped them down for miles.  So, I’m not sure how they got word out to get an ambulance. But I listened as my teacher explained to my Mother that they were going to have to cut through 2 blocks of fallen trees so someone was coming to carry Tina up to the ambulance. They wanted my Mother to make the walk so that she could accompany Tina. Most of the town was flooded still but that the storms were moving out of the area.

This meant that the rest of us would remain until Mom’s return and it would be up to me to keep the girls calm. I looked at the girls and thought to myself that may not be so easy. Then they were gone. My English teacher and his wife went back to bed. The girls had refused to be in the dark so they agreed to leave one candle burning for them. We each had been given a nice warm blanket.

I glanced out the big picture window and looked for some hint of daylight to which there was none. I told the girls they may as well get some sleep because nothing else was going to happen. They all begged me to stay awake and watch for more storms. I agreed. I sat there with them until they all were asleep sitting up and leaning against each other on the couch.

I then went to the picture window to stand and wait for the long night to end.  I wanted to be the first to see what we had survived. I then thought about my Great Grandmother and how much I wanted to see her and I knew that nothing was going to be quite right until I did.  Until then, I hoped that some kind of sanity would prevail.


The End

 A Special thanks to John Kespert for his encouragement to me to write about this experience.







As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story 

As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story part 2

As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story Part 3

As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story Part 4

As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story Part 5

As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story Part 6

As The Storm Clouds Gather: A Personal Story Part 7




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