Aftermath of the Wind

Soon Mrs. Petsch and Elise called and dear sympathetic Mrs. Petsch was full of the troubles of others which they had been hearing. The Strand’s had lost their all. Their new house all askew, their barn man hurt, their trees torn and stripped of the fruit that was to be their income. Mrs. Strand was obliged to go into the barn cellar and stay till 2 o’clock at night when it became so unsafe her husband and son had to drag her to Mr. Alind’s. They were all down cellar. Mr. Frank Smith’s house was a perfect wreck. The chimney had fallen in the center just the moment after Mrs. Smith had secured her baby from the bed and gone down cellar through a hole her husband had sawed in the floor, and the bricks came showering down on the bed. But the worst off was Mr. Tucker. His house and barn burned to the ground. A total loss and three horses burned. They only left the house in time. It blew over before they reached a neighbor’s house.

At Cucamonga everything was a total wreck. The new hotel all down, the depot offices, all but two buildings and their roads and avenues ploughed and ruined by the wind. Oh it was all terrible. Mrs. Petsch said be sure and come over if the wind blows again, and in the PM when it again began to whistle furiously, over they came and took the three children with them. Percy Wilding came soon after and he took Millie, baby, and me over.

In Ontario twenty six homes are down and one brick block, and part of Euclid Avenue. The Prinis’ house was blown over and Mrs. P lay in the ditch all night. I feel so sorry about the avenue. Those fine pepper trees, and it will be so long before they can grow.

December 22nd 1887

Old Bones seems to have come to stay. The next Tuesday December 20th, the wind came up again but not till late, after the children were all asleep in bed. It blew so violently that at last, in one of the lulls, Walter went over to Mr. Petsch to see if he thought it best to move the family. He did, so Walter told us and we took up the three children and dressed them, while we wrapped Channing in my big shawl. Mr. Petsch carried Edith, Walter Channing, And Peter took LeBaron. Millie led May and I had the valise, shawls, etc.  We blew over which was fortunate. We found the Strands there. Poor Mrs. Strand thinks it is a pretty hard life. The three children went to bed on the lounge and Millie held Channing the first of the night, and I the rest. He would wake if we went to lay him down, but he never cried though he was awake and said, “Papa carried me.” The next morning he woke up as bright and sweet as ever. The wind blew hard all night, and at times furiously, but when day dawned everything was still standing, to our surprise. It continued blowing all day sometimes so violently that it would be dark from the volume of dust blown in the air. Mrs. Petsch and I went over home in the buggy to get a few things and call upon Walter. He and Peter did not stay at Mr. P’s that night, but the next Walter came over , and to our intense relief, after dark the wind began to die out. The night was quiet. We all slept. Mr. Petsch was on a cot in the storeroom, Mrs. P and Millie on the floor, Mr. and Mrs. Strand on the bed lounge in the sitting room, Wallace on the floor. Our four little ones on the bed lounge in the dining room, Walter and I on a single cot bed, but we all managed to rest some. We went home early the next AM to find our house all dusty again but not nearly as bad as the other, though had we not had that to compare with we should think this dreadful. I’ve not mentioned my potatoes which were amusing. When we came home from Mr. Petsch’s after the first storm that Thursday AM, we crossed our potato field and there lay the potatoes all on the surface of the ground, the earth had all blown away. Many of the potatoes were half full of sand driven in. The sand also took the paint off of fences and wagons, and the tin off of oilcans etc. Several people declared they had seen a rabbit with the hair all off his hind quarters, but some laugh at this story. One house, that first storm, that stood just south of Hermosa gate, was blown all to pieces and the woman with three little children was separated from the man, and spent several hours holding on to some grape vines trying to keep her children sheltered by covering them with a shawl, and there lying flat on the ground, they waited for daylight while the distracted father rushed about shouting and calling, and she called too, but the wind made such a terrible noise they could not hear each other and he thought they had been blown away. The sand even wore bricks half away. The work of this sand blast must be seen to be believed.

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