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under the sun
THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 1992
A TALE OF TWO HAZF1 S
Stanalands Remember High Water At Bonaparte's Landing
BY ERIC CARLSON
Schuyler and Hazel Slanaland had just finished
pulling the roof on their new brick home al
Bonaparte's Landing wiicn the wind picked up and
the rain began to fall. It was a lucky coincidence.
A few days later the family was living in the base
ment of the new house. Their old home across the street
had been pushed 20 feet up the road by the mosi intense
hurricane to hit North Carolina in recorded history.
Winds at the height of the siorm were clocked al 150
miles per hour. The highest storm surge ever recorded in
the state rose 18 feet above normal at Calabash.
Ironically, the storm was named Hazel.
"I've taken a lot of ribbing about that," said Hazel
Stanaland last week as she sat sipping coffee in the same
brick house. "But I'll never forget that storm if I live to
Nowadays, when the wind gets up, it's easy to keep
track of a hurricane. Hazel's son Doug usually takes his
mother up the road to his house whenever a storm watch
He doesn't mind a bit. Like Hazel, he'll always re
member that day in Octoberl954 when the water came
up and up and just kept on coming.
Doug's father had retired from the U.S. Coast Guard
two years earlier and moved the family to the old home
place on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It was a
modest wood frame house about 10 feet up the road
from his grandfather's store on ihe waterfront. Schuyler
and Hazel planned to live in the old house with their two
children, Danny, 5, and Doug, 15, while they built their
Hazel remembers that at first it seemed like any oth
er storm, the kind people on the coast get accustomed to.
Every fall they would sec tropical storms with strong
winds and a few days' rain. But this time the wind con
tinued to pick up. The rain grew heavier. And then the
water started to rise.
Doug was in the new house with his father installing
windows when Hazel sent Danny across the road to
bring them home.
When they got to the house the water was coming up
"as fast as you could walk," Doug remembered. It
quickly surrounded the house and continued to rise. As
they ran inside to get Doug's grandmother, they could
see the building next door reeling from the pressure of
waves breaking against its side.
The grandmother, Emma Wheeler, was in her 70's
and had been weakened by several light strokes, Hazel
remembered. "She didn't have enough strength to ring
out a washrag."
Yet as they led the old woman out of the house and
into the storm, she reached out in fear for a guy wire that
supported their homemade television antenna.
"It took two of us to pfy heir hands off that wire,"
STAFF PHOTO BY EtIC CAUL SON
DOUG STAN ALAND points to the spot on an old oak tree that once stood in front of his grandfather's
store, showing the level of flood waters from Hurricane Hazel. In 1954 the storm destroyed the store
and his family's home.
Schuyler eventually goi Mrs. Wheeler onto his back
and waded up the road toward higher ground. Danny,
who couldn't swim, jumped off the porch and discov
ered that the swirling water was already deep enough to
reach his ncck. Doug had the presence of mind to drive
the family car uphill to safety.
Within five minutes the waves knocked the old store
off its foundation and into the side of the Stanaland
home. Hazel remembers the wall of the house buckling
in "just like an ax against a tin can." The impact tore the
house from its footings and pushed it about 20 feet be
fore it came to rest on the nearby hillside. What re
mained of the store was soon reduced to rubble.
"I sal down next to a tree and prayed just as hard as 1
could that old house would stick," said Ha/el. "And
that's what it did. It finally stuck."
Off to the south, Doug said he could see nothing but
water. The ocean was breaking across what was normal
ly a two-mile stretch of marshland between the water
way and the Adantic. Although it seems like a frighten
ing sight today, for a teen-age boy it was more of an ad
"The only time I really remember being afraid was
when my dad was going inside the house to salvage
things," Doug said. "You could see the floorboards
buckling and the water coming up as he walked across
Then the wind stopped and the sun came out. "You
couldn't even see a leaf moving," said Hazel. The eye of
the storm had arrived.
But a few minutes later the wind returned, this time
from the opposite direction. As quickly as it came up,
the water receded. Doug remembers looking out across
the waterway and seeing the channel reduced to no more
than 100 feet wide instead of the normal 300 feet to 400
"It went out so fast and so far. It was the lowest tide
I've ever seen," Doug said. "I thought the waterway was
going to dry out."
In the aftermath of the storm the Stanalands sur
veyed the damage. The store was gone, their home all
but destroyed. Doug remembers an old hermit living in
what was left of it for several years afterwards.
They went to the new house expecting the worst.
The water had easily risen high enough to flood their
new basement. But to everyone's surprise, they found
that marsh grass pushed by the water had sealed the low
er windows, keeping the basement nearly dry. So they
moved in downstairs.
Hazel remembers bits of clothing and crocheting
hanging in the bushes and from limbs of trees. Doug re
members that children "had a field day" digging through
the mud where the old store had been, looking for coins.
For several weeks there was no school and all gro
cery shopping had to be done by boat. Eventually the
school bus would come to where the bridge had been
and send a boat across to pick up the children on the oth
Doug still credits his father's cool head for keeping
the family together during the hurricane and in the days
that followed. A veteran of many storms during his 26
years in the Coast Guard, "he was a fairly calm individ
ual in the face of adversity," Doug said.
Since 1979, Doug and his wife have lived up the
road in another wood frame house, built well above the
area flooded in 1954. Together they have weathered a
few more storms, but nothing to matched the fury of
Hurricane Hazel. Not even the one in 1984 named
Which just happens to be the name of Doug's wife.
Over the last 4-1/2 years I have had the pleasure of
serving this community as a physician. I brought with me a
desire to practice the highest standard of medicine, as a
loving and caring human being who was also trained in the
specialty of Family Practice.
My philosophy of medicine holds the doctor to be an
educator-the true definition of the word doctor. I have
attempted in that role of educator to practice preventive
medicine, as well as therapeutic intervention. I have an
abiding belief in the biblical phrase that tells us it is better
to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish.
I have attempted to demonstrate my belief in good health
maintenance by practicing that which I preach. There have
been occasions in which my alliances have been in discord
with this philosophy; projects started that will not be
completed. Yes, there are some regrets.
For the most part, it has been extremely gratifying to
experience the warm acceptance of what appeared to be in
this area at least, a non-traditional medical practice. In the
end, it is clear that we all share the same goals of an
improved quality of life.
It now becomes necessary for me to move the basis of my
practice, and my office in Village Pines will be closing
effective July 1, 1992. For the honored patients in my
practice who wish to continue with me, 1 welcome the
opportunity to discuss these plans further. Please contact
my office or my home at your convenience. For those
individuals with whom my association in a patient-doctor
relationship shall end, I thank you for the pleasure of that
acquaintance. With my most sincere regards...
Marilyn Boehm, MD, PhD
CM 902 THE BRUNSWICK BEACON
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