Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It Was 20 Years Ago Today . . .

Normally I keep these posts to design and food related topics, but today is a bit different. Even though there is a mention of food in the post, it goes under my label of "But I Digress."

What the property looked like before the flood of '93. You can see the white bridge out in the distance.
My son is hiding in that rain coat.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the flood in Fallbrook that caused us to evacuate our home in the middle of dinner. It was the evening of January 15, 1993 and it had been raining for two weeks straight. I decided to brave the rain and went out to bring home Chinese food. 

We lived on property with a creek – and the water was beginning to wash up over the bridge. The great room had a big picture window, with a view looking out towards the front yard. Our nearest neighbor was coming down his path to watch the creek rise and to check his bridge. Things were getting intense with the rain and the water was getting very high in the creek, lapping over our bridge. The neighbor suggested we move our cars to the other side of the old bridge in case it collapsed. My husband and I left our dinner on the table to move the cars (I think the kids were watching from the front porch) and just after we moved them and headed back to the house, the water came rushing into the yard. The creek actually broke its banks a bit further up on the neighbors property, so the bridges were saved, but our yard and house were beginning to flood.

Days later, our dog Sheena sits on the porch trying to decide if she really needed to go do her business. I remember wearing knee-high rubber boots for a long time when we went back and forth from the cars to the house.

It was pretty scary evacuating, as we dodged the debris floating through the yard in a strong current, to get to the cars. We had just planted over 50 bushes between our property and the neighbors with big, heavy wood stumps in-between them. Those stumps were just rollin' through the water like they were made of styrofoam. My husband had to carry our daughter through the rushing water and went back for our big dog, who was pretty scared too. We stopped by the fire station to notify them of what had happened and then continued on to a friend’s house (they lived on higher ground) for the night.
This photo is from weeks later when the water levels went down in the yard, but the creek water was still very high, touching the bottom of the sand-covered bridge.You can see how far the house is from the creek and on the night we had to evacuate, it was a long way to go through rushing water. 
The property at one time was five acres or more (much of it bought by the state to build I-15) and the state was to blame for the flooded creek because they neglected to clean the storm drains a bit further down the road.

The next day when we returned to see the damages, and noticed our take-out dinner still sitting on the table, it was a reminder of how quickly we had to leave. Every January 15th for years afterwards we had Chinese food on this date. At some point we stopped, most likely when the kids left home, but I think I will bring back the tradition and do takeout Chinese tonight.
Cleanup in progress

That spring, after most of the cleanup was complete, we decided to purchase our first home. We’d been living in the family-built home in the canyon for seven years and this was the push we needed to move-on-up. And up we did go, to one of the highest streets in town, Alta Vista Drive. The name says it all. 

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