WELCOME TO LIND!
May 18, 1980
WELCOME TO LIND!
DROP IN! MT. ST. HELENS DID!!
May 18, 1980
These photos (taken May 18, 1980 about 12:00 p.m. show the billowing clouds which many
described as beautiful. However, this was before they unloaded on us, dumping a gray
disgusting ash on our entire town.
It was 1:00 P.M. and as the city's street lights were coming on, we were beginning to show
concern. The ash was falling all around us, covering everything in gray. Most of us gathered
our family and went home to listen for news and explanation. We turned on the TV and radio,
listened, wondered, worried. What is happening? Is the ash dangerous? When will it stop
falling? And most asked question, "Will it still be dark in the morning?"
(and in the meantime, our daughter's cat was delivering kittens in a drawer in her room!)
It was in the morning, May 18, 1980, that an eruption, in the south western part of the the state,
would release an immense landslide of superheated gas and rock, with a fifteen-mile high
plume of ash. Did we even know about it, or were we concerned after we did hear about it, and
did we even think that it could affect our town? No! Although some said later that they heard
the blast, most of us were not even aware of the impact the explosion would have on Lind and
we just surmised that life would go on as usual. Not so! I was standing in my neighbor's yard
and we briefly talked about the billowing clouds that appeared to be coming our way. They
sure didn't resemble the dust clouds or rain clouds that we were used to, but in all reality, they
caused us no real concern. I do remember, however, that we half-way joked that just maybe
the end was near. In the meantime, we were not aware what had happened now did we
realized the eruption would cause the death of 57 people, destroy two hundred and fifty
homes, and spread fury across many states. And like all small towns, word quickly spread.
We later learned that the eruption was considered the most destructive volcanic event in U. S.
On May 19, everyone wandered around evaluating the situation. I remember the birds,
perched on their branches and not making a sound. A trip to the FFA barns was a different
story. With a lot of FFA pigs, it would seem they'd be confused too. However, they loved the
ash and were running around, sliding & playing in the gray ash. The rest of the town was
totally quiet. Many were driving around trying to assess the damage, and a few decided to
start the clean-up. Washing off the side walks seems to be the common goal, then removing
the heavy ash from the shrubs was next. Found out very quickly that the 'stuff' didn't wash
away like dirt from a dust storm. It was heavy and just got heavier with the added water. It was
going to be a monumental job for the little town. And so it began.
Farmers started bringing in equipment and the the community went to work. Kids volunteered
to sweep (scoop) off roofs, and help clean up yards. And every day seemed the same. The
town's community members were all doing the same thing. Trying to clean yards and streets
was tough enough, but then where do you put the stuff? It was scooped to the center of the
streets, and then hauled to rock pits east of town where it would eventually be buried. Every
evening, many met down town at the Golden Grain Cafe or one of the taverns to have a cold
beer and discuss their day. Even after the long and tiring days, everyone had a story to tell.
Lots of stories were passed around for the next few weeks. And through it all, we still had a
sense of humor and saw some kind of a light at the 'end of our tunnel.' Other than a few sore
muscles and unsolvable issues, the town didn't fold under the pressure, nor did they whine
when they realized that the National Guard would be in Lind ONLY to clean the ash off the
schools.Events were canceled, & school was dismissed for the rest of the year. The rodeo
was canceled, Lions Club was dismissed for the summer, Tredecim Club quit meeting, and
the community concentrated on their property and the town. Did they ever get done? No, not
really, but they worked hand in hand enough to be able to carry on each day. Seems there
were good things, too. No one was hurt or injured in the fallout. The wheat crops were
excellent that summer, and everyone learned basically the same lesson. The logical question
of the day after clean-up was, "What would you do differently if it happened again?" And the
basic answer, "I'd clean off my roof before I cleaned my yard.".