Patty (Lee) Danielson


Written Memory


May 16, 2012


June 9, 1972. I was 16 years old. Up until that day, it was a year of carefree days and fun. Like anyone's teen years should be. Everything changed on the night of June 9th, 1972. It was raining harder than I had ever seen in my lifetime. Being pretty much a chicken about anything scary, I begged my mother to take me to my grandma's house which was on higher ground. (We lived directly behind Baken Park, with the creek in our backyard). My mother and I left, leaving my dad, sister and uncle at the house. My dad and uncle were frantically trying to tie out buildings to trees. Before leaving home with my mother, I put small tables and anything else I could on top of my bed, just so it wouldn't get wet should flood waters seep into our home. Little did I know, those items on the bed were the only things that survived in my bedroom as the mattress floated on top of the water. My dad decided to move a collector car up to my grandma's ""just in case"". He and my uncle were about to do that and were going to leave my sister, who was 17 at the time, at the house and come right back. My uncle thought that wouldn't be a good idea and said she should come along. When they tried to return to the house after moving the car, the wall of water had come down and they couldn't get anywhere near our home. Thank goodness my sister had went along with them. When we finally could get back to our home, it had moved off the foundation, lodging up against a tree and clothes line pole. One end of the house was being held up by our piano. I made my way to my bedroom finding everything that had been on my bed, completely dry and untouched. I searched and searched, in vain, trying to find a favorite little blue glass elephant. My boyfriend at the time (and husband of nearly 40 years now) helped take things out of the house. I had a beautiful pink stuffed elephant which I had gotten as a child, that rode the flood out on top of my bed completely save and dry. My boyfriend was carrying it out of the house and dropped him in the mud, ruining it. I was devastated. It didn't take long for reality to set in, however, and for me to realize just how lucky our entire family had been. We had no loss of life. What a miracle. So many others not nearly as lucky.

The last memory I will share took place days after the flood when looting was, unfortunately, taking place. My dad had returned to the house to find a man trying to take the pretty switch plates off our walls. My dad, the most gentle and peaceful man I've ever known, was overcome with rage and said later, he felt like he could have killed that man. After all the loss and all the destruction, it was almost more than he could bear.



“Patty (Lee) Danielson,” Flood of 1972, accessed September 28, 2022,