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May 18th – Do you know where you were on this date?  

bustinout20202 65F  
854 posts
5/18/2021 10:39 am
May 18th – Do you know where you were on this date?


It’s a big day of remembrance in our neck of the woods.

Like remembering Neil Armstrong’s first steps, or the deafening silence in the air on 9/.

May 18, 1980, the day Mt. St. Helens erupted scarring the land some 230 miles or so. We lost 57 lives, notably geologists, photographers, campers and a cantankerous old man willing to fight to let the mountain take him. Beautiful campgrounds and hiking trails, fishing lakes and areas surrounding the mountain were forever changed.

It was like a<b> death </font></b>of a memory.

I remember my friend who grew up near the area in the larger town of Kelso , which shares a border with the county seat in Longview. She loved growing up in that town and invited me one year to go on “The Loop” with her. The Loop, though it sounds like a bike/hiking trail was actually an annual Labor Day Weekend festivity that the locals did where they bar hopped caravan-style from town to town all night making a loop from Longview to Kelso to Castle Rock to Toutle to Cougar and back to Kelso/Longview area. It was 1978, I had just turned 21. All I remember was old bars with worn wood floors, a nameless faceless manfriend of hers who looked after me as I twirled around the old fashioned cast iron street lamps in one town and tried to do cartwheels with no hands in another. [Not recommended!]

I believe some of those little towns were hit hard by the mud flows that followed the eruption.

I lived in Portland at the time. We didn’t get the ash fallout that cities north and east of that mountain did. That Sunday, my bestie and I were trying to follow the sun and were heading to Central-ish Oregon to Kah-nee-ta Warm Springs resort. [Ha! Another memory gone, I’m told] Actually it’s near another mountain in our area, Mt. Hood. I remember looking to the north and seeing the voluminous ash cloud blanketing that part of the sky. We put toilet paper around the air filter in the car as ash fell like small snowflakes around our house. As we drove, I thought immediately of crusty ol’ Harry Truman, the iconic man on the mountain that the press and forest rangers had strenuously warned to evacuate. My heart ached. The radio played tributes to him. For once, my friend and I drove in silence, letting the radio fill the void of sound.

Do you remember where you were that day?


~~~" Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift." --Mary Oliver~~~


bustinout20202 65F  
1080 posts
5/18/2021 11:06 am

It’s a big day of remembrance in our neck of the woods.

Like remembering Neil Armstrong’s first steps, or the deafening silence in the air on 9/11.

May 18, 1980, the day Mt. St. Helens erupted scarring the land some 230 miles or so. We lost 57 lives, notably geologists, photographers, campers and a cantankerous old man willing to fight to let the mountain take him. Beautiful campgrounds and hiking trails, fishing lakes and areas surrounding the mountain were forever changed.

It was like a death of a memory.

I remember my friend who grew up near the area in the larger town of Kelso , which shares a border with the county seat in Longview. She loved growing up in that town and invited me one year to go on “The Loop” with her. The Loop, though it sounds like a bike/hiking trail was actually an annual Labor Day Weekend festivity that the locals did where they bar hopped from town to town all night making a loop from Longview to Kelso to Castle Rock to Toutle to Cougar and back to Kelso/Longview area. It was 1978, I had just turned 21. All I remember was old bars with worn wood floors, a nameless faceless male friend of hers who looked after me as I twirled around the old fashioned cast iron street lamps in one town and tried to do cartwheels with no hands. Not recommended!

I believe some of those little towns were hit hard by the mud flows that followed the eruption.

I lived in Portland at the time. We didn’t get the ash fallout that cities north and east of that mountain did. That Sunday, my bestie and I were trying to follow the sun and were heading to Central-ish Oregon to Kah-nee-ta Warm Springs resort. [Ha! Another memory gone, I’m told] Actually it’s near another mountain in our area, Mt. Hood. I remember looking to the north and seeing the voluminous ash cloud blanketing that part of the sky. We put toilet paper around the air filter in the car as ash fell like small snowflakes around our house. As we drove, I thought immediately of crusty ol’ Harry Truman, the iconic man on the mountain that the press and forest rangers had strenuously warned to evacuate. The radio played tributes to him. For once, my friend and I drove in silence, letting the radio fill the void of sound.

Do you remember where you were that day?

~~~" Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift." --Mary Oliver~~~


1bighammer1000 57M
4304 posts
5/18/2021 11:14 am

That was the spring that I started farming for myself, I was 13 years old. I would work in the Fields till dark every night. I remember my dad was out in that area right afterwards and brought my sister a 3 lb coffee can of ash back.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:30 am:
So, eventually, what did you do with that coffee can? Spread it out over a garden?

HAMONMAN 63M
13129 posts
5/18/2021 11:30 am



I always wondered what Truman did after he retired


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:35 am:
Harry R. [Not 'S']Truman had his 15 minutes of fame when he refused to leave the mountain that he loved. He told reporters that if/when the mountain blew he had a canoe waiting on Spirit lake to ferry him across to the other side and a cave to hide in with enough supplies to last for three months. The mountain never gave him a chance...RIP, Harry.

CleavageFan4U 65M  
69374 posts
5/18/2021 2:02 pm

I was a continent away, living and working no more than 60 or so miles from the Atlantic Ocean, just as I had all of my life. That's about all I can tell you - no SPECIFIC memories, though I can certainly understand why you have them.

Looking Forward To Summer This One Especially
And in the Category of AFF News
THE News
[post 3312759] My Private Post - Tell Me ALL Your Secrets – Anything you write here is just between us


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:42 am:
Thanks for the read, Cleave. I often reflect on how, being a world or a continent away, we respond to events in life.
Like 9/11...I remember sitting on a swing at my son's schoolyard, while he played after school that day. What struck me was the absolute silence in the skies around me. Peaceful. The planes were all grounded and it was eerily silent. I thought about how deafening and chaotic the skies over NYC were at that very moment...

Ultraviolet_Sol 42M  
622 posts
5/18/2021 2:45 pm

Wow... That is a fascinating account that really anchors the perception to history come alive... Such a catastrophe is on par with a Chernobyl like occurrence. I find volcanos and mountains to be highly interesting.

I once memorized the word eyjafjallajokull with accompanying factoids, for an exam...

*. *. *


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:48 am:
Okay...I just had to look that one up! lol! I remember that one! It grounded planes all over the world with it's smoky plummage! Thanks for the read.

Paulxx001 65M  
22616 posts
5/18/2021 7:19 pm

I know that I watched the news and thought, man, that's terrible. It was an impressive show of the brute strength and unforgiving wrath of nature.

Your memories just added the warm colours that were missing from what I watched that day. Thanks for sharing your glimpse; I can only imagine... 🌹❗


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:53 am:
Hey Paul! Thanks for the read! And for all the ash I saw, it was much greater in parts north and east of the mountain. They had ash blizzards to clean up. Though nature can be terrible, it can also heal itself so well over time. It's amazing to see the trees and green back again, although the floes from the mud serve as a reminder even on the main interstate.

WyoCowboy7751 69M
2537 posts
5/19/2021 5:58 am

Lived in Denver , Colorado at that time . I remember the News reports about it but don't remember what I was doing at the time


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:56 am:
Hey Cowboy! Thanks for the read!

DanielZwat1950 72M  
436 posts
5/19/2021 6:24 am

There was even a thin layer of ash coving my ranch in EO that seem to make everything grow better that year for some reason.


bustinout20202 replies on 5/19/2021 8:57 am:
Hey Daniel! Thanks for the read! I know, it did lead to some amazing gardens in the aftermath!

Owatalife 66M
1711 posts
5/19/2021 9:03 am

Actually I do remember watching the news that evening as back in the dark ages that was along with newspapers the only way to find out about these things.


justme51 71M

5/21/2021 11:55 am

Business trip Atlanta GA had to drive instead of flying in.


InneedofUdarling 67M

5/22/2021 5:12 pm

I was in bed that Sunday morning. I thought it was funny that someone was doing some dynamite work in the Samish Hills just outside Bellingham. Wasn't that many people working Sundays in those day. I was working shift shift myself and it wasn't until l reported to work at 4 pm that l found out Mt. St. Helens blew its top.
I guess when a mountain erupts 200 miles away it sound like someone doing dynamite work. But a whole lot more rock, soot, ash, trees, even rivers moved that day!


bustinout20202 replies on 5/24/2021 6:43 pm:
Did you get a lot of ash in B'ham? I think you folks were harder hit than us.

InneedofUdarling 67M

5/25/2021 7:36 pm

Nope, hardly saw anything. Had to drive south to see the damage!


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