Local News

Through the Eyes of a Child: Memories of Hurricane Floyd

Posted February 9, 2000

— Hurricane Floyd was a devastating storm, affecting different people in different ways. That is especially true when you see the storm through the eyes of a child.

East Carolina Universityiscollecting memoriesfrom elementary school students in Pitt County. They are stories of things that went bump in the night, stories of loss, and stories of hope.

"All you could see were the tops of houses, cars and trees," writes student Amber Roebuck. "You couldn't see the ground or the road. It was just water everywhere."

"They grabbed my arm and shouted 'mandatory evacuation!' They put me on the helicopter, which was loud. They told me I was coming to Tarboro if my parents came or not," writes student Justin Casper.

Through the eyes of children, ECU is documenting the flood for future generations. Floyd still resonates in their young minds.

"After a while, we were in the eye of the hurricane, and I decided to go outside and play for a little bit. Bad idea," writes a fifth-grade student.

The University's library is saving everything from home videotapes to newspaper clippings. Curator Mary Boccaccio says the heart of the collection flows from the memories of kids.

"Adults see things as cost and how many years it will take to get back to a certain situation. Children see things more immediately. They lost their pet," says Boccaccio.

Some did lose their pets.

"And now here I am today without any animals, but we are going to get some more when we get a new house," writes Quinisha Pettaway, who lost a pet in the storm.

Some lost their homes. Every child in the fifth-grade class at Bethel Elementary was affected.

"We did have a pool at our hotel, so we used pool water to wash our hair with shampoo, at least we felt clean," writes Abeyounis.

"People lost their homes and belongings. It affected me. Hurricane Floyd was the flood of the century. I hope another won't come in another hundred years," writes Ebonie Howard.

The collection will be kept at ECU and will be available online in a few weeks. Once that happens, organizers expect more people to write in with their own stories, sparking a collection effort that could go on for years.

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