Posted in Back in My Day

Mt. St. Helens ash? Or just fireplace sweepings?

Today is the 39th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, May 18th 1980. I was just 20 then, and barely noticed the ash fall; I lived and worked in the gritty industrial area around Seattle’s Harbor Island. My car was always covered with gritty crap anyway. Then again, my girlfriend at the time was living in Spokane, and they had to put pantyhose over their carburetors, which was a popular car part at the time.

A whole industry sprang up overnight, many souvenirs purported to contain the oddly valuable ash. And then there were the books and VHS tapes (ask your mom).

There was the lodge caretaker who refused to be evacuated, because before his wife passed away they had vowed to never leave Spirit Lake.

Mr. Truman lived at the lodge with his 16 cats right up to the end. (Although I have it on good authority that cat 14 said “Screw this! I’m out of here!” and left the week before. Animals can sense these things.)

There was a National Geographic photographer and others who perished up there too. Mother nature always wins.