During the past two weeks as reporters I work with have covered the rising floodwaters in Grafton, Hamburg and Alton, I’ve had little to report on about it in my beat, but it doesn’t stop me from remembering the Great Flood of ’93.
No I wasn’t a reporter back then. I was newly married and expecting a child. There isn’t much about 1993 I don’t remember because when your pregnant with your first child you tend to take in everything. I remember the loss and heartache felt and how the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers erased the livelihood and homes of thousands.
Floods have a way of bringing people together. I know it’s sad to say, but when there are people in need others do their part and step up. Hundreds of people are volunteering to help out so that all will not be lost.
There are many people out there asking the question “If you know the river floods, why do you live so close to it?”
People who have lived along the rivers their entire lives do it because they love it. They wouldn’t live life any other way. There are several who move close to the water only to learn later that it’s not the lifestyle for them, but rather a place to visit once in awhile.
Two of my parents good friends and neighbors had lived their entire lives in Grafton and in the Flood of ’73 decided they had enough and moved to town. Francis and Everett were an older couple than my parents, but that didn’t matter, they formed a friendship that lasted a long time. The played cards together and we camped as famlies together and even though their lives changed they always kept in touch.
I remember the stories they would share about living in Grafton. They were carefree folks and that is part of the lifestyle when you live on the water. It’s how I think about people who live in along rivers without levees, especially in Grafton,to protect them. I don’t think moving ever changed that about them. River folk are carefree because they know that there is little they can do to change the waters direction so they can only go with the flow.
Although Francis died several years ago, Everett is still around. He met a nice woman and moved to Madison County.
Growing up in Jerseyville one of our neighbors had lived their entire lives in Grafton, but then in the Flood of ’73, they decided it was enough and didn’t want to fight with nature anymore.