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The dreadful hurricane Gilbert of September 1988

by Latoya Edwards
(Portmore, Jamaica, WI)

Jamaica Independence Article/ Story Contest - Entry #13 - The dreadful hurricane Gilbert of September 1988

Whoooo Whoooo, the sound of the wind. Frightening? Yes, and that was the sound of the dreadful hurricane Gilbert when it hit Jamaica September 12, 1988. I was just 6 years old, and was very excited when I heard that a hurricane was coming to Jamaica, pity did I know the disaster it would bring.

My mother and I lived in one of the rooms of a 2 bedroom old house. Every part of that house was old, the concrete verandah was cracked in umpteen places, the hall had no door, the back entrance had no door, the zincs on the roof had so many holes, so much so that the sun radiates through our room when it was sunny. But we managed to get by and made ourselves comfortable.

The day when the rains began to fall my cousin Kemar and I jumped up and down blissfully, as we await this “nice time”. Kemar who lived with this dad Hugh, was our neighbor and he came to visit my mom that evening.

The rain and the breeze got so hard that Hugh could not go back home, he had to stay put at my mother’s house. That time Kemar and I was on the bed giggling, and making jokes. Not long after, the leaking began. It leaked, and leaked until the room was flooded. Hugh and mommy began to mop out the water, as Lovindeer would say, “wata come inna mi room, mi sweep out some wid d broom”.

Suddenly I felt water wetting me as if I was outside, and to my astonishment, our house top blew off. An my my my, I was so horrified. I began to cry, and Hugh grabbed Kemar and ran out trying to make his way home. Mommy then said to me, “wi haffi go out a Miss Beryl wi cant stay here”. Miss Beryl was my mom’s relative living about 400 metres away, and her house was strong.

By that time, it was very dark, and the only thing I remembered was that my mom throw a huge towel over me and lift me up, and she started walking. The rain was falling very hard and the wooing sounds of the wind were so loud and frightening. But my mommy was able to reach Miss Beryl with God’s help.

Even though I was still sobbing when we reached Miss Beryl’s house, I was happy that we were safe, and as young as I was, I was very thankful….especially for the tea and bread she gave us.

Hurricane Gilbert will always be a bitter sweet memory for me!

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Comments for The dreadful hurricane Gilbert of September 1988

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Aug 03, 2022
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Beautiful memory Latoya .
by: Julett Cole-Thompson

Beautiful memory Latoya, as I read your experience of Gilbert I cannot⁴ help but to reminisce on my experience too on that dreadful and eventful day..it was so scary but I had to be brave as I even though I was small I was a big sister and had to keep baby brother safe. Oh wow, that day will be a memorable memory and experience...I can now say thank God I survived it.

I loved your story..good job girl.

Aug 03, 2022
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Good Job Latoya!
by: Anonymous

Excellent read! Especially because so many can relate to it and the effects from that storm.

Aug 03, 2022
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Wow Just Wow!
by: Titanya

Such a beautiful story Ms. Edwards, I enjoyed every bit of information.

Aug 01, 2022
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so much memories
by: Sabrina Facey

Such a beautiful article Mrs Latoya Edwards sure brings back memories.

Jul 31, 2022
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Flying Roof
by: Glenn

I too lived through Gilbert. The things about that stuck with 'til this day are sheets of zinc from roofs floating through the air like paper and the intact roof of a three bedroom house blowing off and landing on a parallel still in one piece.

Jul 25, 2022
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Hurricane Gilbert
by: Nickey

I remember that my family too had to stay at a neighbor's house.

Jul 24, 2022
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Hurricane Gilbert
by: Nicole

Oh wow, I understand just, what you are saying I thought it was fun as well until I saw my father gets hit in he’s head with A falling breadfruit from the tree. Lol

Jul 23, 2022
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The dreadful hurricane Gilbert
by: Collett

This story bring back so much memories as I can relate to her experience. My mom roof also blew off and we had to run to our neighbor. Very nice story.

Jul 23, 2022
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Bittersweet
by: Tia

Wow, I can actually feel your terror when that house top went flying thank God for Ms Beryl.

Jul 23, 2022
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Little Latoya and Hurricane Gilbert
by: Nessa

Wow!!! Bitter sweet indeed. But exciting. the way u told the story made me feel as though I was there.i could imagine every scene. Great story teller. i too loved rainy seasons growing up. Brought back childhood memories for me. But I'm very happy ur here to tell the tales

Jul 23, 2022
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Baby Latoya
by: Anonymous

Hush ya baby latoya sorry to hear about your home being damaged during Gilbert.Thanks for sharing your story with us btw,it brought back childhood memories of how excited I would get for rainy season and the fun my siblings and I would have.

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