Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1944 Storm Story

Yesterday I shared a story recounted by NC journalist Lawrence Maddry. In his column "They Make 'Em Tough in N.C." he told this story about boat-builder Willie Austin of Avon:

"The worst storm Willie could recall was the hurricane of 1944. He pointed with a finger to the newel post inside his house, showing where the water had risen to 5 feet above the floor.

"'I'd say about 90 percent of the houses around here were knocked off their foundations during the 1944 storm,' he said. 'Houses were floating everywhere like boats.'

"He laughed recalling neighbor Clemmie Gray's experience during the storm.

"'During that blow Clemmie was sitting in his house talking to his wife and watching the hurricane's doings through the window. Then he turned to her and said, 'Look out! That house over yonder is moving right at us.'

"Willie slapped his knee in merriment. I didn't see the humor.

"'Only it wasn't the other house that was moving at all,' he explained. 'Clemmie's was floating, and the other house was standing still.'"

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story:

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