McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 12, 2013

Stories shared from Enid flood of 1973

ENID, Okla. — Since the Enid News & Eagle published a look back at the Oct. 10, 1973, flood earlier this week, survivors have submitted their stories in droves. Here are a few:

Belt loops

At 8 years old, Shawna (Reed) Gaines spent plenty of time going to Boggy Creek — sometimes floating down it after a good rain.

That changed after the great flood.

Gaines and her brother were being raised by a single mom on Spruce, just across the street from the creek. As the storm hit, her grandfather, Delbert Walton, came over to help get them out.

They walked down the road, seeking shelter on higher ground. when they had to seek refuge elsewhere. Gaines said they had to traverse a set of new rapids.

They stepped out into the water as a four-link chain.

“I hung onto my grandpa’s belt loops and the water just picked me up by my feet,” Gaines said. “I really, really don’t know how we made it through the roaring water like that. It just had to be the Lord.”

A cause?

Stanley Pospisil spent hours riding on the back of a road grader and in a boat rescuing people from the Brookside neighborhood. The boat eventually sank and had to be towed to high ground so it wasn’t lost.

Pospisil also said Friday that he remembers a farmer’s magazine published a few months later that mentioned a possible cause.

The story apparently reported that someone had seeded clouds in Woodward County the same day of the flood, but that it didn’t take until the clouds reached Enid.

Remembrance

Nine people died in the flood, including a mother and child.

Sharon Swartwood and her daughter, Twyla, were swept away during the night. Sharon was the last of nine fatalities discovered.

Her sister, Pamela Robison Swinnea, was living in Illinois with her husband at the time.

“We moved back to Enid 10 months after the flood. Have always remembered Oct. 10 and still miss them,” she wrote.

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