Today's Sepia Saturday prompt (Thanks, Alan!) offers us a middle-aged couple, Phillip and Frederica Wylie, affectionately sharing a moment while listening to a weather broadcast on a radio in Miami Beach, FL. Now, as someone who grew up with a red transistor radio glued to her hip, who remembers when all the good songs were still being played on AM and who waited each week for Casey Kasem's long-distance dedications, I would have loved to do a Sepia Saturday post about radio.
Sadly, I have no pictures that do justice to that latent passion of mine. I don't even have a photo with a radio in it.
Let's talk about weather.
It stands to reason that if the Wylies are living in Miami Beach and they're glued to the weather broadcast, then there's probably a storm brewing. And we all know that if there's a storm brewing in Florida, it usually gets a name and a big spiral on the radar map to call its own.
June 22, 1972. I didn't live in Florida; I lived smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania. But Hurricane Agnes didn't discriminate; she barreled up the Eastern Seaboard with a vengeance, leaving death and destruction in her wake. My little hometown, situated on the banks of the Susquehanna River, didn't stand a chance.
The photo above was taken by my father from the little bit of dry land where the end of my street met the four-lane highway that ran through town. There was a creek which ran just to the north of my housing development, and its overflowing waters extended the river's reach in this part of town.
Ten inches of rain fell in a matter of days, and by the time it was over, entire communities had been destroyed. My parents had a radio on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen, and every day at noon my father would come home for lunch. And every day, while eating lunch, they listened to the news on WKOK out of Sunbury, PA. That June, I can remember the reports of the storm and the flooding -- Sunbury is another river town and it received extensive damage, as well. Harrisburg, the state capital, was hit hard, too; even the Governor's Mansion was under water:
Cleanup was a long and arduous process. The receding floodwaters left knee-high mud in its wake, (photos of which, surprisingly, I could not find on the internet) and the damages totaled $2.1 billion, an astronomical sum at a time. Today, that would equal over $12.2 billion. My parents were lucky. Living where they did, the most they suffered was a few inches of water in our basement and some time off work. Others weren't so fortunate.
And what did fashionable 7 year olds wear when venturing forth to view flood damage? Only the latest in print polyester pants and waterproof rain gear.
Just FYI, on June 24, 1972 the #1 song on Billboard's Top 100 was Sammy Davis Jr's "The Candy Man." My little red radio also played "Heart of Gold" (Neil Young), "A Horse with No Name" (America), "Doctor My Eyes" (Jackson Browne) and "Rocket Man" (Elton John).
I'll leave you with this, another 1972 classic:
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