So now is a good time to tell you about what happened a bit and before and after Hurricane Camille. We had been warned of this event a week before it happened and we had placed sheets of plywood on all windows and door ways to protect the house.
We had stored up gallons of water to drink and use in cooking. At that time we did not have a generator to use, because they were hard to find. However, right after the hurricane I managed to buy one to use until the power was restored. Helen had a friend named Janie Read who was also a teacher whose family lived beyond Hattiesburg. She came down and took lots of fish and frozen food off our hands until after the power came back on. We placed the truck and car out in the open so that it would be safe and we needed the space in the garage to store stuff and run the generator with the doorway open. The fishing boats were pulled way up in the yard.
Hurricane Camille hit us on August 17, 1969. Above are some of the pictures taken about 7 or 8 am after the tide surge was going in the yard. There was a 20' surge, or wave, which washed the boat Chevis Regal up in the west side of the yard. On the east side looking out of the kitchen door there were about 20 or 30 of the Standard Oil Company's 50 gallon drums. A lot of them had gas and oil still in them. There was some paper office records also. A 30,000 gallon pontoon washed in from a dredge and tore up the pump house and water pump. The boat Chevis Regal washed up over the trees on Brodie's Island and landed in our yard right over one of my persimmon trees, and that is a No No. After about two weeks we put an ad in the paper asking the owner to claim the boat Chevis Regal. After about three weeks it was claimed by the owner. At that time the owner's wife stated that her husband should never have named the boat after a brand of whiskey, and that is what caused all the trouble, including the hurricane. The winds were clocked at 150 to 220 miles per hour. Water looked like ice cream flying through the air. Helen and Ann came out of their bedroom to look out of the east side of the picture window at 1 or 2 AM and then ran back and jumped in bed. The next day we found a channel three feet deep, from Mr. Chapman's yard on through our yard past the picture window, on around to our pump house and it tore up the pump house and water pump. For a period of two weeks we saw no birds, squirrels, or heard no noises. It was indeed a very quiet experience. Like no other. The house received very little damage The ridge row on the northeast corner of the house had a few tile knocked off, and the house needed a coat of paint because of the sandblasting winds. Otherwise, it was okay. It had been well built back in 1952. A contractor quoted me a price of $400.00 to fix the ridge row. Instead, I found some pieces for $14.00 from a damaged house nearby and fixed it myself. I recall that State Farm Insurance Company had sent me a letter in the mail, cancelling my policy just before the hurricane and included a refund check for $41.00. Believe it or not, this helped pay for some of the paint and damages to the house.
Bill came from Los Angeles, CA a few days later. His help was most welcome. The boats had not been damaged, and it was found that fishing was real good, since the hurricane surge had brought many new salt water fish into the bay. We managed to hook up a gas cooking stove, and that kept things going. Ice and fresh water was soon made available by the city and county. We had lots of clay and dirt hauled in to fill the holes where the surge and the pontoon had dug. When the pontoon went through during the surge, it damaged the corner of the brick foundation under the picture window, on the southwest corner, and it sounded just like a railroad train going through. The pontoon did not stop until it had completely damaged the water pump and pump house. We had fresh water from the artesian overflow from the well.
We managed to find the poles and parts of the pier and soon had it back in order. With the help of Mr. Joe Chapman, our neighbor next door, we managed to hook up the overflow from his artesian well and put a partition around it so that most of us could take showers. Other than that, we carried buckets of water from the bay to the bathrooms so we could flush the toilets when necessary. It was a good two to three weeks before the power and phone service was hooked up. You can imagine how welcome it was to have the power and phone service back in use.