Hurricane Flashback: Fran

North Carolina doesn’t have good experiences with hurricanes whose names start with the letter “F.”

I know this from personal experience, for I, Zach Yonk, was a survivor of a little hurricane named Fran.

Back in 1996, when the best Presidential candidate the GOP could dig up was good ol’ Bob Dole (seriously?!) Hurricane Fran was making her way toward the City of Oaks (Raleigh).

At that point I had never consciously experienced a hurricane (Hugo was in ’89, when I was learning to walk, but I can’t remember that far back). But when Fran showed up I was in third grade, and everyone was freaking out about it. I was absolutely oblivious.

All I cared about at that point was being able to watch PG-13 movies without my mom finding out. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, baby!

The night Fran hit, I was hanging out in our living room reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

I could hear the wind whipping through the trees outside.

Like they say, “It was a dark and stormy night…”

Damn right it was, especially after the power went out, which would explain why my Pops (many refer to their Pops as “dad,” but not I) ended up sleeping on the floor of my room while I battled insomnia with a flashlight.

Seriously, how could one expect an eight-year-old to sleep through a hurricane, especially after reading a book of ghost stories?

At that time I had no idea of the destructive force a hurricane could bring.

Then I woke up the next morning and looked out my bedroom window.

There were trees laying all over the backyard. My turtle-shaped sandbox had been blown from one end of the yard to the other.

However, what really hit home was when I walked up to my friend’s house and noticed that a tree had fallen and split his tree house in half.

The silver lining was that I missed about a week of school.

Now whenever a hurricane tears through my area, I can’t help but wonder if it will be as destructive as Fran was.

As Laurence Harvey said in The Manchurian Candidate:

“Oh God, I hope not.”

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