Irene A. Hauer
 

 

This appeared in the Dayton Daily News on March 25, 1962
 
Irene A. Hauer
 ‘Mother Had Hysterics Thinking Dad Drowned’
 
 
     Mother and dad had a candy and notion store at 5th and Broadway on Tuesday, Mar. 25, 1913.
     At 4:30 that morning there was a great knocking at the front door and a policeman told dad to get everyone out of the house and up on the hill as the Miami River had overflown and they were already taking people out in boats from their houses near the river.
     THERE WAS a railroad crossing at the corner opposite our store.  My sister and I joined several neighbors, but instead of going to the hill we went down the railroad track toward the river to see what we could see.
     Soon we came to a freight train stalled on the track.  As we wanted to get closer to the river, we climbed onto the train and gingerly made our way until we came to the river.  There we watched people taken into boats from their homes.
     Shortly thereafter, a wagon came along and mother and my sister and I were taken to the bottom of the hill.
     Dad had decided to stay at home, but promised mother he would wave from the attic window the next morning so we would know he was all right.
     When WE arrived at the bottom of the hill we were told to walk on up West Fifth St. and someone would take us in for the night.  We found a place to stay.
     There was no electricity and only one candle for each bedroom.  I was sent to the attic to sleep with the Hungarian maid who could not speak English.
     Throughout the night we listened to the militia calling out their weird, “Who goes there?” and watched the flames from the downtown fires.
     The next morning we went to the bottom of the hill and could see our house, entirely surrounded by water, but no waving Dad was at the attic window.
     Mother had hysterics, thinking Dad was drowned, but we could do nothing about it then, so we went up Summit St. to the Montgomery County Children’s home and from the rear yard we watched the sights.
     WE SAW a woman hand a tiny baby out a second story window, but when the rescuer stood up to reach for it, the boat swerved and the baby dropped into the water and disappeared.
     Late that afternoon a county commissioner friend took us back to our house in his car.
     We no sooner got to the house than a militiaman came shouting: “Everybody out.  Wolf Creek banks have given way.”
     We had found out that dad was helping people whose boats were swirling around the corner of 5th and Broadway and hadn’t remembered to go to the attic window to wave to mother.  He really got a tongue lashing and she insisted he go with us this time.
     That night we had to sleep on pews in Rev. Wilk’s church at Summitt and Home Ave.  We got little sleep as all night long people came in looking for relatives and telling wild tales of things they had seen or imagined.
     The next day we finally got back home and found about four feet of mud and oil all through the house and store.  Everything but one bottle of ink was gone.