"Connecticut Flood," by Bertram O. Moody
We had been in our sixteen-foot outboard motorboat, floating easily in the main street of Hadley, unloading into a purring truck the last of the marooned folk from the West Street area.
Tonight the angry Connecticut was intent on making a new path across the fields. Already the West Street common was a vast waste of water – three feet deep on the highway, nearing the piazza roofs farther down the street – rising a foot an hour. Out beyond, on the main highway to the river, all the women and children had been picked up. Only a handful of hardy men remained.
"Who's out beyond?" we asked.
"McGrath's the nearest. You might get him. But you'll never make it."
We looked at each other. Leave a man out beyond with a wall of water due to strike in two or three hours?
"Let's try it!"
The motor coughed, settled into its steady hum, and we slipped down the main street, our search light shooting its white ray a half mile through the gently falling mist. A mirror -faceted highway sign gleamed six inches above the water beside the road. We were on Route 9.
Across the West Street common we hit the current – a sullen, relentless movement of water farther than a man could walk. The motor stepped up to full speed.
McGrath' house came out of the darkness…
"Come on," we shouted, "the dam's gone at Turner's Falls!"
He took his place in the boat. We waited for a lull in the ice cakes and were off into the current. Again, the full high-pitched hum of the outboard above the roar of the waters! Again the search light cutting its white path through the blackness. We were in the full current now, headed diagonally upstream, but we made no headway. Slowly we were being beaten across the highway, backward. In a moment we were in the top of an apple tree, our starboard pushed against its bare branches, which formed a yielding cushion against which we gently swayed. For half an instant we hung there … and then the ice was upon us. An unseen hand reached out and turned the boat over as quickly, as easily as one might turn the page of a book. In a second [their boat] had vanished in the blackness.
[The men spent the night in the apple tree.]
"Suddenly around a bend we sighted a boat – a surf-boat manned by eight oars. WHO COULD BE with that outfit? We looked again. Hart and Hannigan! Hart recognized us first and raised a mighty yell, "My God, it's the Moodys! Come here till we kiss you!"
Scribners Magazine, March 1937