May 18, 1980 8:32 a.m. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing that day? We lived in Vancouver, Washington. I worked for the Columbian Newspaper as a route manager and I was heading down Andresen hill after making sure my paperboys had delivered the Sunday paper. It was not unusual to see the mountain spouting. In fact it had become quite a regular event, so much so that it was almost routine, like "oh, it's raining again." But this eruption was unlike any of the ones that had preceded it. This was the big one that filled the sky with ash as far as the eye could see and swept debris down the hillside, leaving destruction in it's path. I hurried home and nudged my husband, who was still sleeping. My parents who lived to the North had heard what sounded like a horrible sonic boom and were frantically trying to call to make sure we were okay. The phone lines were hopelessly jammed and they didn't get through until later that day. Of course we had to go find the best vantage point for this grand spectacle. This was our playground. We used to go fish the streams and hang out at Merwin lake. The guys would ride their motorbikes all over up there. After the blast it looked like a desolate moonscape.
It seems unreal that 30 years has past. So many things have changed. I became a mother. We moved, changed jobs and went about our lives. The mountain changed too. Rebuilding, regenerating and coughing up steam now and again. The wildlife and trees have returned. So have we. We no longer play on Mt. St. Helens. We have new playgrounds. We still live in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Some day Mt. Hood could rumble back to life. I remember Pop scoffing at the reports that Mt. St. Helens was going to have a major eruption..."ah, it's never gonna happen!" The lesson here is never underestimate Mother Nature. She'll win every time.