Remembering the Flood

Watching TV Off the Back of a Fire Truck

In 2000, in four North Carolina towns — Grifton, Belvoir, Rocky Mount, and Greenville — the North Carolina Humanities Council sponsored writing workshops for local residents who were encouraged to take time to reflect and to record their thoughts on the devastating effects of the floods caused by Hurricane Floyd the previous year.

The results of these workshops are recorded in the book Watching TV Off the Back of a Fire Truck: Voices from the Flood in Eastern North Carolina. The book also contains interviews, essays, poetry, and a chronology of events. Although most of the reminiscences have been edited for length, the editors were careful to maintain the voices of the authors. Many of the writings and interviews in this book are deeply emotional and give, collectively, a picture of the personal effects of the tragedy in a way that you could not find in statistics and newspaper accounts. I can imagine that the farther we get from 1999, and as living memories of the flood begin to fade, the more important books like this will become.