Memories and fears still strong

Walter Durst, Columbia

July 31, 2009 

I was working at Belk downtown Columbia in 1989. The afternoon before Hugo hit, I went onto the roof of the store and watched the clouds build.

Having been in hurricanes before, I knew we were in for a big one. After closing, I went home. I was living with my parents. That night was horrible. My parents slept through the storm, but I stayed up all night. We had pine trees around our house, and I could hear limbs crashing down in the yard and hitting the roof. Thankfully, we didn't lose any trees, but most of the other houses on our street did. We were without power. A neighbor across the street had a generator, and we all ran extension chords to have some power.

The next morning, I drove down to Belk. We were closed, but I answered the phone to tell customers that we were closed. We also opened the store's restaurant to those downtown who wanted water or sandwiches. For several years later, whenever it stormed with heavy wind, I was very nervous and scared. It was as though I was had flashbacks of that awful night in 1989.

-- Walter Durst, Columbia

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service