A Deep Subject

by Mark Nye, Tarzan Deel and J.D. Hanes
Issue 304 - August 1998

NOTE: There were many photographs that accompanied this article, and for the benefit of our members on slow connections, we have moved the photographs to a Museum Flood Slide Show page. We suggest you read this article, the next one from August 1998 entitled "Afterwards", and the corresponding article from September 1998, then view the slide show in its entirety.

On NCC Convention Sunday, June 28, 1998, due to deteriorating weather conditions in Southeastern Ohio, including Cambridge, the Glass Show and Former Workers Reunion were canceled. Dealers began to pack around the time the show was scheduled to open that day. After the last dealers had finished packing and departed, a group proceeded fo the Forum restaurant for the traditional "It's Over" dinner. As the food was delivered, a phone call came in informing us "the water is up to Rte. 40 at the Museum." Flooding in the Cambridge area was expected and the NCC Museum was monitored all day with the last report at about 4:00 p.m. saying there didn't appear to be any danger of flooding in that area.

As soon as the phone call was received, people scrambled, almost forgetting to pay tabs, J. D. Hanes took a bite from his sandwich and made a beeline for the museum. Jeff Ross and Tarzan Deel headed to Deer Creek Motel to retrieve Tarzan's glass and then headed to the museum. Mark Nye and others also headed straight to the museum.

When we arrived there, water was already in the parking lot and the area was under a tornado warning as tornados had touched down not far away. As the word of the flooding spread around town, many people risked injury or worse to come to the museum to help save its contents. Everyone there put personal safety aside to help save the museum contents. We were told what to do in case a tornado was sighted by our spotter standing in the vestibule, the location of the only windows in the building. We were also following the weather on the local radio station.

The plan was to move as much of the glass as possible to the higher shelves and tops of cabinets. Unable to locate Marybelle Teters and the keys to the showcases, we were initially forced to break locks to open the cases. Marybelle was finally contacted and had Larry and Janice Hughes get the keys from her house and bring them to the museum, Thank you, Janice and Larry. (Marybelle was finally able to reach the museum not long after the keys arrived.) Some glass deemed replaceable was left on lower shelves simply because there wasn't enough space and to make room higher up for difficult or impossible to replace items.

All free-standing cases were emptied and the tall cases laid flat on the floor to prevent tipping over into wall cases. Cases laid on the floor were placed to allow water to quickly enter them so they would not float. In addition to the glass, old catalogs and other irreplaceable paper were moved to higher places.

We hurried as fast as we could, but time was running out as water started to seep into the building and began rising fast. Many of the people there were advised to get out before the water actually entered the building. Bill Hagerty and Mike Arent, our angels of mercy. began to evacuate people with their trucks. With the water steadily rising, Bill Hagarty had taken out Cindy Arent, Judy Momirov, Lorraine Weinman, and Mike Neilson and had returned for Shirley and Carl Beynon and Mark Nye. At the end, six people were left in the museum and, as the water was rapidly rising inside, it was time to go. Jeff Ross grabbed the computer. J. D. Hanes, the Cambridge "Loving Cup", and with Marybelle and Ward Teters, Lynne Verbsky, and Tarzan Deel, ran for higher ground and the storage building through lightning and pouring rain. Bill Hagerty and Mike Arent then drove through the water to reach the six stranded at the storage building and after a harrowing trip, got them to safety on high ground west of the museum property. We were all safe and that was the most important thing.

Those at the museum on that fateful night were: J.D. Hanes. Tarzan Deel, Cindy Arent, Mike Arent, Bill Hagerty, Carl and Shirley Beynon, Lorratne Weinman, Lynne Verbsky, Mark Nye, Jeff Ross, Marybelle and Ward Teters, Judy Momirov, Larry and Janice Hughes, Don Conkie, and Mike Neilson. Unable to reach the museum because of flooded roads were Charlie Upton, Lynn Welker, Joy McFadden, and Priscilla Southworth. Thanks to all who helped in this crisis without thinking or their own safety, even though everyone was worried, and put the preservation of the museum contents above everything else.