I am going to tell you a true story of my childhood Spoonful of Sugar Easter….
This afternoon as we prepare to head out for Easter Vigil, the Family Channel was showing the movie Mary Poppins. As you will read, this is so very appropriate for me. Mary Poppins came out in 1965~and oddly enough, we saw it at the movie theater ON Easter Sunday afternoon. Trust me, this was very atypical for my family…..but that Easter, we were living in Winona, MN in the midst of a flood. We were still in our home, as were our neighbors. Winona, MN is a small town on the Mississippi River. It is about 2 miles wide-with the River on one side, and the lake on the other side. Our living room and dining room furniture had been sent to a warehouse up on the bluffs; Winona sat in a valley.
Easter morning, after church, we played croquet in our living room.
How did we do it? One of us would simply hold the hoop up when it was time to try to shoot the ball through it. Easy-sneezy
What fun, what an adventure. My family always turned lemonade into lemons. After Easter dinner, we walked downtown and saw the movie. After the movie, we walked the few blocks to where the river had reached. As was my folks’ custom, we all sang songs from the movie as we walked along. How lucky am I??? VERY!
The river had come well up over the banks and was almost crested. To this day, the river has not reached that height. We peered at the water to see if we could see any rats, but we only saw them in our imaginations. But we did see high school, college, and grown men making sandbags and passing them up the line. The news networks and newspapers called Winona the city that saved itself. Yep~we didn’t have time to wait for help. Time was of essence. Everyone pitched in. Everyone helped each other…..Now THAT is Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!!! After the photo is a story from the link below. It gives you tons of facts about my old hometown and THE flood. To this day, that Easter is a cherished, happy, beloved childhood memory.
When Was Easter Sunday in 1965?
In the year 1965, Easter Sunday fell on: April 18th
|At Winona, Minnesota, the Mississippi River went above its flood stage (13 feet) on April 10th. The river reached moderate flood stage (15 feet) on April 13th and major flood stage (18 feet) on April 16th. The river crested at a record 20.77 feet on April 19th. This surpassed the previous record of 17.91 feet on April 20, 1952. The river then fell below major flood stage on April 26th and moderateflood stage on May 1st. The river finally fell below flood stage early on May 5th. This was 26 days after the river flooding began. The river then lingered within two to three feet of flood stage through mid June.||
Winona, MN hydrograph constructed
Flood predictions from the U.S. Weather Bureau and local actions taken based from Winona Daily News articles:
- March 19th: Joseph H. Strub Jr., hydrologist at the U.S. Weather Bureau said that “if additional rainfall occurs, crests at Winona will be near those of 1952.”
- March 31st: Joseph H. Strub Jr., hydrologist at the U.S. Weather Bureau said that “heavy April rains may mean a record crest for Winona.”
- April 7th: Joseph H. Strub Jr., hydrologist at the U.S. Weather Bureau predicted an 18-foot or higher crest.
- April 8th: Winona city officials met that morning and came up with a plan to throw up an 18-foot temporary dike around the city’s vulnerable east side and ordered high-volume pumps to handle overloads at the sewage treatment plant. The same day, Joseph H. Strub Jr., hydrologist at the U.S. Weather Bureau revised his flood predictions and now the river was expected to crest at nearly 21 feet (nine feet over flood stage, and nearly three feet higher than the “hundred year” flood of 1952) or . That night Mayor Rudy Ellings called a meeting of contractors and challenged them to erect a dike. They marked out four sectors – from lock and dam 5A on Prairie Island to Mankato Avenue. Within 24 hours, construction had begun.
- From April 9th through April 19th: As many as 5,000 people worked to build, and later monitor, the temporary dikes. They filled 1.3 million sand bags and worked round the clock for 10 days, using almost 300 trucks, 25 to 30 bulldozers, 8 earth movers, 10 drag lines and a dozen backhoes.
- April 19th: Early in the morning, William Fitzgerald collapsed and died after delivering a load of sand bags. He was 35 years old and he had operated Hill Top Tavern near Stockton. This was Winona’s only fatality contributed to the flood. The Mississippi River at Winona, MN crested at 20.77 feet. The dikes worked, and Winona remained, for the most part, dry.