Chapter 6

Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955

by Mary A. Shafer

Excerpt from Chapter 6:

Soon, Jerry is on his way back to the house. Marian’s eyes have adjusted to the dark now, and she watches him try to enter the water from the other side of the yard. After moving a few feet into it, he stops. It’s plainly deeper than when he went across the first time, and she realizes the current must have gotten too strong. Slowly, he turns around and trudges back up the hill, and Marian feels a chill move through her.

Jerry comes back with a rope, in which he makes a loop at one end, tying the other to a tree where he stands. He tosses the looped end toward a tree close to his house. It catches on a branch, and he pulls himself along the rope toward it. Holding on to the tree, he pulls in the rope’s slack and yanks the loop off the branch. Then he winds the length once around the trunk and grabs the looped end again.

He kicks off the trunk, giving himself enough momentum to make it back to the door. Tying the end loop tightly around the doorknob, he wades back into the house. Marian is waiting for him at the top of the steps.

We need to get you and the kids out, fast, he says, out of breath.