Hurricane Hugo

August 14, 2009

A trying experience

I had evacuated to Atlanta for the weekend, and returned home Sunday (second row in North Myrtle Beach) three minutes before the 8 p.m. curfew. I was relieved to be on time as I had everything valuable I owned in my car but no proof I owned it. I was also lucky to get there at all, as it was hard to find a gas station that was open.

The utilities were all working and there was no damage to the house. The next morning I got my car stuck in the sand on Ocean Blvd., so I took it home and walked to the beach. The hotels were hard hit and there wasn't a soul around. It was sort of an eerie quiet. The National Guard was later posted on the corners to prevent looting, and they stayed for a few weeks.

My house is elevated, and there was a line on a stilt indicating water had been 16 to 18 inches deep. Two weeks later, a neighbor returned two coolers to me, having found them side by side three blocks away in a vacant lot. I still have them, and take the one belonging to my late father with me when I go fishing.

We weren't hit as bad as Charleston, but as late as January visitors came in at work saying they had come to gawk and were not really expecting anything to be open. They had heard the entire town was flattened and everyone was put out of business. I repeatedly told them to spread the word we were alive and well. Despite faring better than some of our neighbors, it was still a trying experience.

-Brad Cunningham, Lexington

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