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Fri., May 13, 2011, 7:58 a.m.

Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere! Rebecca's post reminds me of a story from our family history.  

In 1948 my great aunt and uncle (yes, they really were great!) lived in Vanport City, Oregon, a city quickly constructed in 1943 to house the workers at the wartime Kaiser Shipyards in Portland and Vancouver.

In the spring of 1948, high levels of snow melting from the mountains and heavy rains filled the tributaries feeding the Columbia River.  On the afternoon of May 30, a 200-foot section of the dike broke, sending a wall of water into the community.  My uncle, not believing the false assurances voiced over the radio, had rented a pickup truck and piled his family, a few belongings and the home-alone children from next door, into the truck.

 Before he drove away, he decided he could not leave the new refrigerator behind. He managed to clunk it down the staircase, out the door and up into the back of the truck.  Uncle Art drove off the  traffic-jammed road and across fields to escape the water. Everyone survived and the refrigerator had a decades-long life in its new home, Milwaukie, Oregon.

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.