Elaine (Bonawitz) Cowley


Written Memory


June 10, 2012


I was 15 years old and lived in North Rapid City. We knew that there was a storm but not how bad. We woke up the next morning and heard about the flood. My grandmother lived on 101 New York Street which was right on an irrigation ditch leading from Rapid Creek. My mother loaded us in the car and drove like crazy down the hill. We were stopped before we got to the railroad underpass. Mom was crying and screaming - we could see the horrible sight in front of us. We didn't know what to do. All of sudden we heard a voice. It was my Grandmother, Stella Bausch. She had spent the night on the second floor lighting matches. She was rescued by people in a boat and she insisted on going to a motel since she didn't want to worry us. How she found us at that moment could never be explained. Her house was lifted completely off the foundation but somehow sat back down in place. We spent many many hours cleaning out and repairing. I remember my grandmother coming up from the basement with her dead cat in her hands - crying hard. She stood there and just held her. A few minutes later we heard a meow. Picking her way across the debris was her other cat - safe and sound. In the end, her house was condemned for the green belt.



“Elaine (Bonawitz) Cowley,” Flood of 1972, accessed October 3, 2022, https://1972flood.omeka.net/items/show/503.