Today marks the fiftieth anniversary for the second major event in my life. No, not my circumcision; there could NEVER be anything major about that. ::sigh::
On this date all hell broke loose in the Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut. After two hurricanes slammed the area one right after the other, the dams burst and washed away much of the region. At least 75 people perished that day, and there are many places from Winsted down to Bridgeport that still bear witness to the devastation.
There's a picture of me as a two-month old seated on a manhole cover in Winsted, with my Dad standing next to the manhole tube and holding me up. All around him, Main Street had been washed away.
Our cottage survived the rising waters of Highland Lake, although it did reach the top of the porch. But our good fortune was at the expense of all those in the town below as the lake surged over the area where the spillways are now and made the name of the Mad River below totally appropriate.
There can still be seen watermark levels on some of the industrial buildings that lined that river on Main Street in Winsted. But on the whole, despite the damage that town sustained, at least they were basically the headwaters. Towns further down the Valley - Thomaston, Naugatuck, Ansonia - were hit far worse.
I don't know if this will reach any Connecticut readers in time, but CPTV, Connecticut's public television station will broadcast a special on the Flood of '55 tonight at 8 pm EST.
I've always thought the tragedy would have made for an excellent movie of the week - a deadly natural disaster, small towns, probably some interesting New England characters.
Perhaps one day it will be.
In the meantime, a search of Google News turns up plenty of articles today about the "Flood of 55". And these sites will also yield stories and pictures of interest: