I was only two in 1965, but special editions of newspapers covering the flood haunted our living room for decades (flaking like mummy bandages in drawers, on the cluttered mantel over the fireplace), and I have an early recollection of being taken in a subsequent spring to the parking lot of Sears in west Davenport to help fill sandbags with my plastic green shovel and matching bucket. We were saving the world! I looked out for arks. Nuns were there, shoveling. My mother, in the muumuu, shoveling. Men we didn’t know, shoveling. The tan sand piles were high mini-mountains and dump trucks were parked and the lot not flat but inclined (at the base of an urban river valley hill) and I was warned: don’t climb! and uniformed members of the Red Cross served coffee to perspiring volunteers talking about the weather, nothing but the weather.

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