Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,
Jacqui
jacqui

Weird Dreams * Floods and Disasters * The 1913 Hamilton Ohio Flood


Please forgive the insensitive language and thought -- the reference to "an old negro...pitiably scared," I just want to share these old newspaper clippings with you.

Dreams, weird dreams -- always when I take Melatonin. And I still haven't posted my long entry with photos all about Atra's knitting show, and I'm behind on Live Journal birthday wishes again, sighs... We're leaving for Palm Desert tonight, but just in case you were thinking of breaking in, there are a lot of very aggressive attack cats, two big dogs and two yappy little dogs who would be thrilled to see you. Now the myopic, Colombian gal sleeping in my library -- I don't think she'd be too thrilled.

Here are my dreams if you're interested;

Part One

I am back at the site of our old home in Palm Springs -- standing by the communal pool, inside the large center garden area that all of the houses face. I am confused and sad. I don't understand why I am here -- why I keep coming back here when the loss of this house tortures me and there is no longer a place for me in this community of people. I look for familiar faces, familiar homes, landmarks, but everything has changed and I do not belong. There are the familiar palm trees, the pool and the flowers, but other than that, this is something entirely different than the place where I spent so many weekends growing up

Most of the original homes have been torn down or seriously remodeled so that nothing but the pool and gardens resemble the little community of homes and people I once knew and loved so well. I feel so much loss over this. I am also deeply saddened over the lost opportunity to have held onto our home or perhaps bought one or two more while they were so cheap. My Mother sold hers for nothing. It would be worth two or three times what we sold it for in as little as a year if we had just hung on. I am angry with her for having made such a bad decision. If we had waited we could have kept our old home here, and be building more to sell, like everyone else has. We missed the boat on this one. All of the former home owners, the children of the original group of golf playing friends who built this cluster of homes, have either sold or remodeled their homes. Nothing is as it once was and as usual I feel lost here.

Part Two

Atra's Mother has died and in some sort of traditional Persian ceremony we have gone to visit her grave. It is concrete and lays above ground with a sculpture of her resting form laying on top of it. There are spiders and ropes and things covering it. Arta and Kourosh climb under them and lay prostrate on the grave. I sit to one side weeping. Afterwards Arta comes up to me and says in that funny way of his, "I never really loved her that much anyway." I am surprised by this, surprised and saddened.

We have traveled back in time and are living as settlers in a beautiful valley. It is in Ohio and Texas if you can imagine that -- I know I'm having trouble with this. There is a sudden and terrible flooding. Without warning water is rushing in and filling the valley from every direction. People are screaming, trapped, drowning, and there is no time to plan any kind of escape.

People are trapped inside their houses by the rising floodwaters. The valley becomes a lake of human tragedy with people crying for help. Husbands are separated from their wives. Children are torn from their parents hands.

My perspective in the dream switches from being one of the many people caught in the flood and a reporter of some sort looking down on the scene from above. I am a participant and a time traveler all at once.

I am part of a family. I am the mother, the father, and the three children -- the oldest daughter, the middle daughter who is overweight, and the youngest son. Again I switch from being one of them to being outside of them -- watching from above. There is a body underwater, someone who is still alive but struggling to reach the surface to breathe -- a woman caught on a downed tree that is rushing by. Underwater I can see that she is hopelessly trapped, dying, and will never untangle herself from this tree. The water is moving too swiftly and rising too quickly. She has been under for too long. Her face is bloated and her lovely long hair floats around her like silken strands of seaweed.

One of her hands is struggling to break free, grabs and clutches onto the ankle of one of the children -- the eldest daughter, who is now being pulled along by this gruesome hand and the swift current. She is able to stand on the limbs of the tree that are closest to the surface which makes her look somewhat ridiculous in the midst of all of this terror, panicked fun like she is riding the water. The Mother of the children seeing this as a dark opportunity to save them, seizes the moment and places her other two children on top of the moving tree. The three cling to each other as they are swept away from their dying parents, their home in this valley, in the rush of moving water.

Thirty-five thousand people die in this flood, and back in the body of the eldest daughter, I know that we are part of a very small group of survivors and I am not certain when if ever anyone will find and rescue us. It is up to me to save my sister and brother -- to keep us alive in this strange forested wilderness full of terrifying wild creatures and native savages, (For my Native American friends, please forgive my telling this from the perspective of my dream child self who doesn't have the more considerate perspective that I do here in the 21st century), until help of some kind arrives.

I can see a few people pulling themselves up onto the banks of this newborn lake, clutching at debris, broken trees, anything to pull themselves out of the waters. They are sodden, wounded, terrified and exhausted. We are alone, the three of us. We are in a marshy forested swamp of some kind. We trek for days waist deep in murky snake filled waters. My sister and brother are hungry and shivering -- they are weak and won't make it much farther without food. Along the banks of this river that we are traveling I can see an Indian settlement. I know this is dangerous, I have been warned, but there will be food there, we are children, and maybe they will take us in and be kind. I have no choice but to lead us there.

From above I can see the encampment. This is clearly an established Native American encampment of some sort. They are close enough to the settlers in the valley to be able to keep watch on them by sending out parties but well hidden enough to have escaped discovery. They live under cover of this wet canopy of marsh and trees. They have built a city on stilts above the waters -- simple box-like homes of wood to shelter them. It seems more like a primitive European fort than a native American one, and more like something you would see in the swamps of Florida than Ohio, but Ohio, Texas, (Texas, with all this water and swamp land?) or somewhere west of this it is.

The children wade through the water to the gates that mark the entrance to this village. The gates are made of long thin trees that have been stripped of their branches, strapped together, and sharpened to points on their tips. Fully a third of the gates are beneath the surface of the water and they are partly open. I want to warn the children away but the eldest daughter has a plan; she has brought gifts to offer the eldest member, the chief. As they enter there is a general sense of alarm that turns to excitement and then a kind of disinterest when these visitors are discovered to be children. They walk towards the head house and present crude weapons to the chief, a handmade ax and two other simple wooden hand made gifts.

The chief captures the children, feeds them, and keeps them alive for sport. He denudes the two youngest children and has them lay behind him on cushions of some kind. He makes entertainment of their weight by insisting that they jiggle their fat, especially the middle daughter who is the largest of the three.

Later I am back again in the body of the eldest daughter. I don't know what has become of my sister and brother. I know that the chief has become tired of me and wants to kill me. I am standing on the wooden porch of his open one room home. I see my only means of escape and take it by stepping backwards into the water. He shoots a poison tipped arrow at me that narrowly misses but the second doesn't and hits me as does the third.

I am certain I will die but I try to escape nevertheless. I swim towards the village gates and manage to remain under water long enough to avoid being hit by any more arrows. I squeeze through the gates and am back outside in the small river. I wander for a ways until I am discovered by an Asian family in a boat who take me to a doctor. The doctor and his wife can't believe that I am one of the lost survivors of the flood. The wife shows me old newspaper articles and photographs of the disaster while the doctor pulls the broken arrows from my shoulder and back. I am afraid of the pain, afraid that I will die, afraid that there is no cure for this poison and that this man does not know what he is doing and will not act fast enough to save me. The dream ends here.
I wake to find my friend Buki wrapped around my neck.


This flood photo is from a flood that happened later than the flood in my dreams and about a hundred years earlier than the flood my Father's family lived through, but it had a big tree in the foreground, like the one in my dream, so I thought I'd share it with you.

My adoptive family on my Father's side came from Ohio, Hamilton Ohio to be more exact, and I collect photos and articles about a terrible flood that occurred there when my Father was just a baby. The flood in my dream seemed much earlier, well before cars or industry of any kind had reached this area. Nevertheless this dream reminded me of my Father's flood. His Mother and Father, my grandparents had moved west to California just a few years before this flood.

The river flooded it's banks, buildings were filled to their second floors, cars and cows floated down the main street. People were trapped on roofs and upper floors of buildings, (if they were lucky), without power, food, or help of any kind for many days.

In an old album of photos I found snapshots of this flood. I don't remember how old I was when I found them, it wasn't that long ago. My great-grandparents must have sent them. How awful it must have been for my grandparents to have moved so far away from their home and then to have this happen -- with news that traveled so slowly. They must have worried for so long before they heard word from their families.

Here is the story from an old book about the floods in Ohio and a tornado that started in Mexico and hit Nebraska in 1913. I think it's a really interesting read.

Here are some archived first hand stories from the 1913 flood.
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