We were truly among the fortunate because we had no property damage, no one we knew was hurt, although several friends lost their houses. Everyone seemed to be OK though. Now I wonder if they were really OK and my perception–as a 25-year old–was completely off base.
My one, inconsequential loss was a warped AeroSmith album. How minor; how trite to even mention it now compared to losses by others. Yet that was the reality of it at the time. For some reason, there was change in the air brought on by the dam collapse. Three friends, including one of my roommates at the time, and I started talking about leaving Idaho Falls.
Several weeks later, the four of us packed up our cars, started our own caravan, and headed to Portland, Oregon. The trip was full of challenges. At one point, the bikes on the bike rack on the back of my car became loose. It apparently was quite the sight for the car following me; bikes bouncing up and down and dipping and twisting. There were no cell phones or way to contact each other, so the driver had to pass me and get me to pull over.
We made it to Portland and stayed with the older sister of my roommate. I now think the move was just something that had to be done, a kind of irrelevant response to the “change.” I stayed in Portland for a month, then drove to Spokane to visit family. At that point, I had no idea what I was going to do. My old work place contacted me and asked me to come back. That was an easy decision as I still had everything backed in my car (including my dog) and no other prospects.
Back in Idaho Falls, I even moved back into the house where I used to live. Went back to the same old job. It was as if nothing changed at all, except a two month vacation.
Two years later I left Idaho Falls for good. The Teton Dam was long gone; they have never rebuilt it. There continues to be talk about rebuilding it, but still nothing. This is a picture of the what’s left of the site.
My life changed after I left Idaho Falls. But that will have to be considered for future posts.