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.
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