Letter from Rev. Frederick B. Noss of Andover, MA to his brother George describing his experience during the Hurricane of 1938.
November 21, 1938
Once again to the strains of this detestable typewriter I am attempting to get off a letter to you, and there have been episodes of what to me were epic experiences to narrate. . . .
As you probably read in the papers, between the big doings of the dictators, we had a tremendous blow in these parts. From a weather station in the Blue Hills twenty-five miles due south of here gusts of 185 miles an hour were reported that afternoon in late September. I was out calling when the wind struck, almost without warning. I had gone out on a gusty fall afternoon, there were rain clouds and some falling moisture, but nothing unusual. Suddenly, with a bellow, the hurricane arrived, wrapping the branches of a big maple around its straining trunk, shaking the house and filling the air with flying shingles. I grabbed my hat and departed at top speed for home, half a mile away. Twice I had to turn the car around and seek another street.
Some trees came up by the roots, being gently laid away to their last rest as a mother lays down her children at night; others snapped off at the base with splintering crashes and great violence like soldiers going down in a rain of shells. The ruination of branches occurred right and left as the stoutest oaks and butternuts bent to the ground in the fiercest gusts. At home our veterans on the bank above the house were putting up a magnificent fight. All their leaves were still green, affording a terrible purchase, and the roar of the battle sounded like the deepest notes of a gigantic organ. How that old wind gathered up its full strength and hurled itself upon them, time after time, tearing away a heavy branch here and there, storming in through the openings and grappling with the trunk itself. . . .
I gathered all the children on the front lawn and for half an hour we stood in Muir-like admiration of the elements. I can assure you without reservation that although the strength and fury of the storm was beyond anything in my experience, that there was not the slightest taint of evil anywhere. I could have sworn that the sound trees enjoyed their struggle and I could swear now that they will be all the better for Nature is ever kind at heart, though sometimes a bit boisterous. The woods can stand a storm far better than any woodsman's axe, however wisely used. And the forests of New England had a thorough overhauling that night, I can assure you too. Nothing unworthy remained to cumber the ground with sick and rotten trunk.