HARRINGTON: Around 9, my oldest daughter, she was 11 at the time, I just woke up and she was just screaming and telling me that there was water in the house. She had woke up to it, she had a futon bed, and she’d woke up and felt it coming up on her bed. And when I stepped out of the bed, it was already waist deep on me, it was coming that quick.
So, my youngest, she was 3, she was in the bed with me, and I grabbed her, grabbed my cell phone off the night stand, and told my daughter, I was like “Melissa, we have to get out of the house.” Because, you know, you just immediately think, “We’ve got to get out of here.”
But we went to the front door and when I opened the front door, all the water came in, and I seen water everywhere. I could see my car floating and I knew it was bad then.
I told my daughters, I said, “We have to get in the attic.” I just thought of that and it was in the hallway and I had a pull-down and I pulled it down, but when I got it to the water, I couldn’t get it, it was hard because there was a current in the house. But I got it down and we got up in the attic and watched the water rise.
I made a phone call to my parents. First, I tried 9-1-1 but I couldn’t get through, so then I called my parents and couldn’t get through to them. But my brother answered the phone and he said, “I’m on the way to get you. We know you’re in there, we’re going to get you out.”
At first, I was like, “Okay, we’re going to get out.” But then after the time kept going and going, I started to think, “We’re not getting out.”And there was no windows in the attic. There was the things on top of the house that have air vents and I had already started thinking that I could get my kids through them.
And the whole time we were up there, you could just hear things crashing and ripping off the walls and it sounded like the house was about to fall down, so I was thinking the worst.
And the only thing we could see was water, that’s the only thing we could see is the water coming up and it was coming up, it was still rising.
My oldest daughter, she’s really mature in the mind, and she says, “Mom are we gonna die? I think we’re gonna die today.” In my mind, I was thinking, “I think it too.”
But I told her, I was like, “No, everything’s going to be okay.” And I said, “Whatever happens, we’re together.” We were just kind of huddled together, all 3 of us, for 3 hours. Then I posted on Facebook because I didn’t know if my brother could get to me, because he’s just one person.
And I posted on Facebook to help, that that’s where we were. I called my mom, and she was saying that people were trying to get to us. I had a boyfriend at the time and called him and he was trying his best to get to us.
But my brother, he came in the street behind where we lived, because he couldn’t get to the front. He had a hard time getting to us because of traffic being blocked off. The emergency responders were telling my mother that they couldn’t get to us at the time because of the way the current was going.
So my brother and my boyfriend went and got, my brother had a little john boat that he hadn’t used in years at my parents’ house, and he went and got that and he put in his boat and came through the houses behind my house, their yards and through my backyard and got to the backdoor, him and my boyfriend Stoney, and they broke the door in.
Before that, they had met up just coincidentally with my boss Binji; he had life jackets and he threw them in my brother’s boat and then came down to us and broke in the back door.
By then, I guess the fire department, whoever, volunteers, had met up their boat, not at my house, but they were pretty close. And I guess they swam over, I don’t know how they got over, but they broke in the door and came through the kitchen, through the living room, to the attic and threw life jackets up.
My brother grabbed the baby, you know, she was little, and someone else grabbed my daughter Jaycee, because she was scared, really scared.
As we were walking through it, you could just feel things in the floor and you didn’t know what you were stepping on, and it was just like furniture you were climbing over, through this water.
My brother’s boat, by then, it was just a little bitty two-man boat, it was already starting to flip over. So we got in it level with the carport of the outside, which the carport was over 10-feet high, it was the roof of it. We walked on the carport onto another boat.
U.S. and international copyright laws protect this digital content, which is provided for educational purposes only and may not be downloaded, reproduced, or distributed for any other purpose without written permission. Please contact the Special Collections Division of the Nashville Public Library, 615 Church Street, Nashville, Tennessee, 37219. Telephone (615) 862-5782.