The Flood - Additional Photos
January 25, 1969
The Flood was amazingly difficult on my parents but they were determined to make it work. We had a neighbor named Virginia Martini. She had been an actress in the 50's and had acted opposite Charlie Chaplin and was Cary Grants first wife. She felt aweful that this young family with 7 children had just had their home destroyed. They asked mom and dad what they were going to do and they just shook their heads, they didn't have any idea.
Virginia Martini drove away and came back in about an hour and reached out of her car window and shook something. It was the keys to 709 San Ysidro Road (check it on Zillow.com it's a 4.5 million dollar home).
Virginia was moving into a house that didn't have any stairs and she was trying to sell the house on San Ysidro. Dad said, "but you are trying to sell this house".
She responded, "You can use it as long as you need."
Sometime soon after the flood someone flew over the area of the flood. It turns out there was some controversy as to the location of where some of these houses were built. In July 2006 my mom told me that Michael Towbes the contractor and developer that built our house probably should have never built on that piece of land. Other people told us, AFTER the flood that they never thought it was a safe house at all.
When my parents asked them "Why didn't you tell us BEFORE we bought the house?" They said, "Would you have listened?" Probably not.
Note the large rock next to the road on the right side of the frame.
This rock had been here BEFORE the flood.
Not being from California many people don't understand the geology of living in the foothills. Big rocks come down in big storms and there were big rocks ALL OVER the neighborhood even before the storm. One neighbor once told my mom, "You don't think people TRUCK these big rocks into the area on purpose do you? Where do you think these come from?"
Then of course, after the flood there were even more large rocks.
While water was still rushing thru the broken carport my dad and the older boys were trying to salvage things from the house. Because the water was rushing so fast you couldn't go thru the water so they rigged a little trolly that went between the carport roof and a telephone pole out front. I remember thinking as a kid, that was SOO COOL. At 6 years old, I obviously didn't realize the gravity of the situation.
Close up of the carport and you can see the trolley lines.
That water that rushed thru the carport was powerful. Here you can see the road and the driveway had been totally washed away.
Of course, all this stems from living in the foothills. Here you can see the hills behind our house. In the summer of 1967 a forrest fire came right to our property line. The only reason our house didn't burn to the ground that year was that my dad, 40 years old and mom, 35 years old, stood on the roof with garden hoses putting out the burning embers that were falling on the roof. When the heat got to much, they would climb down the ladder and jump in the swimming pool and cover their heads with soaking wet beach towels. The resut of the fire was that there was effectively no watershed, or undergrowth with a root structure, in the hills. Couple that with the heavy rains of the 68-69 winter and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
Looking out the front door which was essentially sheltered from the main flow of water. The house was an "L" shaped with the lower left corner of the "L" pointing up hill right at the creek, the front door was behind that and totally sheltered.
Ted on the left side, age 16 helping dig out the pool... (in WHITE PANTS?)
Because the pool was in the backyard and it was very difficult to get trucks and tractors back there we decided to dig out the pool very early on.
What is it with white clothes? That is me (Chris) standing outside the pool while Ted helps dig it out. The tractor is sitting eseentially in the deep end of the pool. After the flood you could stand on the debris where the middle of the deep end had been and look straight over the peaked roof of the one story ranch house. There was a lot of crap in the yard.
Everything was filled with mud.
Jon and I really couldn't comprehend just how difficult things were. We just thought everything was normal. (Jon playing)
|Christmas Day 2004 we came across this picture of Jon from 1970... he is 4 years old here. And look at what he is doing, building something. The tupperware tub next to him is exactly like the ones he still uses to this day in the bins of his work truck to sort screws and various fasteners. I love this photo of my brother.