Between the ages of 10 – 14 I would spend the entire summer with my grand parents in Florida. I would leave on the last day of school and come back a week before school started. The summer of 2004 was no different. I was 11 years old and going into the 7th grade. I wasn’t thrilled about this summer though because my little cousins were also coming this year, which meant it was going to be me, my 6 year old sister, my 5 year old cousin Aly and her 11 month old sister Yayi. I didn’t want to share my grandparents. Anyway, back to the story.
My grandparents lived in Port Charlotte which is nothing but retired folk. At the time I hated it, (now I would move there in a heartbeat) and by the 2nd week of August the small amount of kids in the area were already back in school.
I don’t remember the lead up to Charley visiting, all I remember was one minute we were in the living room watching Spider Man (Yes, the Tobey Maguire one) and the next minute we are in the guest bathroom staying put as Hurricane Charley was causing a massive mess outside.
It was my grandparents, me, my sister, my two cousins, my uncle, and my uncles girlfriend in a tiny bathroom. My grandpa and uncle both took turns holding the door, my grandmother sat on the toilet, and in the tub was my uncles girlfriend who held my 11 month old cousin, my sister, my cousin Aly, and myself.
I don’t remember how long we were in the bathroom, I just remember that it was cramped and I prayed my little cousin wouldn’t cry because the kid had a pair of lungs on her. I remember hearing things banging outside, glass breaking, and the door constantly shaking. The bathroom smelled like formula, and I am pretty sure were in there for a few hours. I remember falling asleep a few times.
I had a Nokia cellphone, that was for emergency only, that I would play snake on. I remember my grandmother had it along with her cellphone, and it was off to conserve battery. Sharon, my uncles girlfriend, had a cool flip phone, not sure the name but it had a color screen. My grandmother kept arguing with her to shut off her phone to save battery.
When we finally left the bathroom we had to be very careful. Every window in the house was broken. There was glass everywhere. We looked outside and across the street a tree had fell on somebodies house. There was debris everywhere. By the grace of god, my grandpas red mini van and my uncles blue sports car was fine, it had a few scratches on it but that’s all.
After we swept up the glass my grandmother and I decided to go explore the wreckage. We wanted to check in on my grandmothers friends, they were older. My grandmother is 61 now and at the time she was 49, (I have a young family) and the couple were both in their mid 80’s. I don’t remember the wife’s name, but the husbands name was Odo, my grandparents would call him Otto, and it reminded me of rocket power. They lived a 2 minute walk up the block.
As we are walking people are outside on their cellphones calling family, we see a news crew, and some military vehicles. I thought it was so cool. Trees were all over the road, people’s roofs, cars were all banged up, it was bad.
We get to Odo’s house and the first thing we see in blood on the door knob. We knock on the door, well knock is an understatement, we bang on the door, and nothing. We are freaked out and run back to get my grandpa and uncle. As we are explaining to my grandparents whats going on, we get a knock on the door, and sure enough it’s Odo and his wife. I don’t remember but by their accents I am 99% sure they were from Germany.
Anyway, the blood on the door knob was Odo’s wife, she had cut herself with glass, and they both had hearing problems so they couldn’t hear the door knocking. They just wanted to stop by to see if we were okay.
After that I remember we ended up all sleeping in my grandparents room because the windows were broken and my grandmother was afraid that we were going to get kidnapped.
So when I think of Wind, I think of Hurricane Charley. It’s the only Hurricane that I’ve dealt with. I feel like I was apart of history some how, only I have no pictures to prove it. Just a small story about being trapped in a bathroom for a few hours.
Has anybody ever been in a scary situation? Let me know!
P.S. I spoke to my grandma and she told me Odo died a few years ago, and his wife Margarete moved back to New York to live with her son. Knowing this I kind of want to visit her but I think that would be weird.