Friday, August 26, 2011

"Spider Webs"

Blanche has often told me the following story about the '44 Storm (also called the Great Atlantic Hurricane).

Blanche's papa, Stacy Howard, had a heart condition, and his doctor advised him against getting stressed. When Aycock Brown went through the village posting signs warning of an impending storm hardly anyone took him seriously. The sky was clear and blue; barely a whisper of wind could be felt.

But Stacy decided it would be better to prepare for the storm while everything was calm, and when he could take his time without anxieties. Blanche says he tied a "spider web" of lines to his fishing boat in Silver Lake.

The storm pummeled Ocracoke, casting the mailboat and other vessels onto the shore in front of the Island Inn. Other boats were scattered around the shoreline. The bow of one was driven through the upstairs window of a house.

Stacy's boat remained right where he had left her, secured by a dozen or more lines. All of the other fishermen vowed that they would pay attention in the future whenever they saw Stacy adding more lines to his boat!

This morning I walked down to the Park Service docks. Several boats were tied to pilings just like Stacy's. I counted 14 lines on one sailboat. Lessons have been learned.

Click on either photo to see a larger image.


  1. Ron Kostar11:52 AM

    Great story, Philip. Had you heard that one before? Hunker down my friend and tell Blanche to do likewise. Is she staying in her house?

  2. I just read "often" so I guess not. I like the one about Uncle Homer burying his boat up one of the NC rivers so "the Yankees couldn't get it." "Buried it in the sand clear up to the mast," Blanche has said. Be safe you guys! Which direction do you expect the tide to come from? The winds, I've herad, are not expected to be THAT bad.

  3. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Once a storyteller always a storyteller. Would have been delighted just to get an update! Reading a good story helps relieve stress for me. Telling one must work for you. That was a good one! Take care .

  4. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Nice story, and great pics, Philip...thanks for keeping us Ocracoke lovers 'in the loop'!

  5. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Spiders do know how to build the strongest web! Stacy Howard must have had just good old common sense and that's what is needed to survive a spunky hurricane.

    I believe there are some great photos of the aftermath of that hurricane in Jack Dudley's wonderful "Ocracoke Album" book that I purchased @ VC.

    You and Blanche "be smart" as they say in central NC. Take good care of yourselves and May God bless you both.