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Letter to readers: Storms and memories

I gripped the windowsill, fascinated by the sight of really big trees bowing to the wind as the Columbus Day Storm blew into my hometown on Oct. 12, 1962.

The window wasn’t the best place to be during a windstorm, I’ll admit. But I was only 2 1/2, so didn’t appreciate the danger.

My grandmother did, and she pulled me away with stern admonishments to: 1) Get away from the window; 2) Do whatever she told me to, no questions asked. (I would be hearing that second command a number of times in the ensuing years, of course.)

The storm is my earliest memory. It’s just a snippet, but very intense.

I think about it every October, as so many people who were living in Oregon at the time.

The Columbus Day Storm is one of those milestones that we recall in vivid detail, with little effort, if we lived through them.

Where were you on Oct. 12, 1962? That’s like asking: What were you doing on 9/11? How did you hear about the assassination of JFK? What does Dec. 7, 1941 mean to you? How about June 6, 1944?

Whether it was sparked by the storm or not, I developed a very good memory for dates, and not just for the big events mentioned above, but also for little things as well.

Some are personally significant, such as June 4, 1978, the date I graduated from high school. Others are more commonplace, such as the date we ran a particular story.

(The latter astounds and disturbs my co-workers, but they certainly appreciated it in the days before Internet archives.)

It’s been fun to share memories about the 1962 storm as I worked on the stories in today’s paper. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about what some of your neighbors experienced that day.

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