Letters from Indiana

Amanda Goehlert, Indianapolis, Indiana

August 14, 2009 

Hello, recently my Aunt, who lives in Columbia, passed on that The State is looking for stories about Hurricane Hugo and that I may want to share my experience. I currently live in Indianapolis, but at the time of Hugo I was living in Bloomington, Ind., and was in second grade. My mom was in contact with my aunt and uncle after Hugo hit their area and told me everything they went through; trees in their pool, no power, neighbors with even worse damage, twins that were born during the storm and named Hugo and Iris on honor of the rough hurricane season. My aunt ended up writing me a letter about how they made it through the storm, and the aftermath as well. I brought the letter into my class and read it out loud. My teacher thought it was such a good topic for the class to learn about but also noted that my aunt's letter had the five elements of a formal letter, so she use it as a lesson plan and had each student write my aunt back to say what they liked about her letter or ask questions. Reading through the letters now, most students either chose to tell my aunt about how the tornado sirens had gone off in Bloomington that week during a bad storm or else ask where my aunt and uncle hid during the storm.

My aunt actually wrote all the students back individually. The letters that she received eventually ended up back in my hands, along with the letter my teacher, Mrs. Hamon, wrote my aunt as a thank you. The thoughts of second-graders, as well as the spelling, is pretty interesting.

I'm attaching my original paper I wrote (hugoletter 1 and 2) about the hurricane that prompted my aunt to write me, as well as a photo of the class and three student letters (hugoletter 3 through 5) written to my aunt (including mine). My story is definitely not as scary or profound as those who went through the storm, but it goes to show how far the stories of Hugo, or other hurricanes, can reach.

-Amanda Goehlert, Indianapolis, Indiana

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