When the waters of Duck Creek started overflowing the banks on a hot summer day in 1998, Lower Salem resident Janet Kidd, 65, did not think much of it.
The creek had overflowed before, leaving water in the basement of the Kidds' residence near Ohio 821 and Ohio 145. But in 30 years of living there, the water had never reached the first floor.
Later that evening, Kidd, her husband and their 17-year-old son were on the roof of their home waiting to be rescued by a helicopter from the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Times file photo
Lower Salem resident Janet Kidd, 65, and her husband and son are rescued from their rooftop by a helicopter from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office after Duck Creek flooded in 1998.
Now almost 15 years later and still living in the same house that was quickly engulfed by the waters, Kidd is able to look back on the flood as a distant memory. However, the day of the flooding is one her family will never forget.
Question: You and your family live in Lower Salem. How close to Duck Creek is your house?
Answer: We live at the corner at Ohio 145 and Ohio 821 in Lower Salem. That is very close. You can just look out the back window and see the creek.
Q: Where you watching the waters that day?
A: We were. It was not that it was flash flood like. It just kept coming up. We had never experienced anything like it. We had lived here 30 years and never had water on the first floor. They had lots and lots of rain above us and then coming down from Caldwell and they both just made the waters like we'd never seen.
Q: When did you realize this flood was going to be different?
A: Well it just kept coming. I remember at that time (my husband) Bill was hauling milk into Broughton's and he had the company truck at our house. I told him he better get that truck out of here since it isn't ours. When he went to move it, the water was up to his ankles and when he came back it was up to his belt. We decided to start moving some things up high on the first floor. Well we didn't get them high enough. By the time we thought we should evacuate, they couldn't get a boat out here because of the swirl.
Q: You had a neighbor who was in the same position too, right?
A: Yeah. We were talking to each other from the window. The water kept coming in and I said 'Just keep going higher." She managed to hoist herself up onto the roof. I don't know how she did it. When she went up on the roof, that's when the porch fell off. It's a miracle she didn't fall in the water.
Q: How did your family end up on the roof?
A: We have a flat section. We can go up the steps and climb right out onto the roof.
Q: So then you just sat waiting?
A: We weren't on the roof very long. And the fire department is right across the road. They were talking to us too and checking on us from time to time.
Q: Were you scared or panicked when all this was happening?
A: I never thought about being scared. We were too busy trying to get things moved.
Q: How did your husband and son react?
A: (My son) Joe just takes everything in stride. When the helicopter got us we had to convince my husband he needed to go to. We have three stories and he was determined to move everything upstairs, but we convinced him moving everything to the attic was not a good plan.
Q: What sort of belongings did you lose?
A: I had an old pump organ that had been my great grandmother's. It just couldn't be restored. We lost some things like that. The china hutch just kind of fell over, and two or three things broke in it. The Bible was floating around in the water, and when you opened it up the inside was OK. Other people found pictures that had floated away from nearby homes. We didn't lose any pictures though.
Q: How was the community affected by the flood?
A: All the new construction went. The older buildings stayed, but all the new construction was destroyed. But as a community, we had lots of help. Everyone pitched in. People from up north sent quilts down to us and people made us meals.
Q: What happened after the flood?
A: It was quite an experience. We had eight feet (of water) in the first floor and I think it was a couple days before it went down. When the water went down of course the couch and everything was shoved in front of the door so you have to force your way in. I looked at the house and thought "Oh my gosh." And my husband Bill said "We can fix this." And we did.
Q: Have there been other flooding incidents since then?
A: In 2004, six years later, we didn't have as much water. We only had five feet in that one. The 1998 flood was supposed to be a 100-year flood, but six years later we had it again. You just go in, clean it up and move on. You just look at it and think you can never fix it up but you do.
Q: Did the flood change the way you or your family feel about living near Duck Creek?
A: It's been different. We check the creek out really hard. It was an experience I don't want to relive. The (Federal Emergency Management Agency) people told us if it goes to the second floor, the house will float. I don't want to find out.
This interview was conducted by Jasmine Rogers.