I was 7 years old at the time of the flood and living in Beacon Falls, where both my parents were born and raised as well. I have vivid memories of the flood, and living "up the hill" from Main Street while the Naugatuck River rose higher and higher until the tragedy of the flood became a reality. I do have home movies my dad took, which are on video cassette now, and for an "amateur," I think my dad did quite well.
My worst memory is the typhoid shot we all had to receive at the public school, and the sore arm and fever that followed. I can remember my family all lying on the living room rug, desperate to escape both the heat from the humidity and the heat from the shot.
My "best" memory, and there is one, is meeting my best friend of 50 years. She had lost her home and all that it held the day of the flood. She was living in "Pines Bridge," also on the river. I did not know her at that time.
When school started in September, she rode by my house on a bike. I was sitting on the front steps, and called to her, "hey, aren't you in my class this year?", like you do at the brave age of 7. She responded "yes", and the rest is history.
She and her family had taken a home "on the hill" down my street as their new home after the tragic loss of the original house. We became instant friends, and remained inseparable during grade school, high school, and our whole adult life. She is my very best friend till this day, and together we've been through happy, happy times as well as the ones to hell and back along the road of life.
So, when recalling the horror of the disaster of the flood, I hold onto the thought that if not for the tragedy, this friendship and all the comfort, laughter, and tears that came with it would never have happened. As we age, and families become dispersed and separated for all kinds of reasons, I constantly joke with her, that she is "the only family I have". This is truer than true, and, odd as it seems, I'm the luckiest person I know because of The Flood Of '55.
Sometimes I think it's really true, that some good always happens because of something so bad. I'm grateful to this day.Copyright © 2015, CT Now