Open Chats

Men with Chainsaws

Men with Chainsaws
Hurricane Iniki (/iːˈniːkiː/ ee-NEE-kee; Hawaiian: ʻiniki meaning “strong and piercing wind”) was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. state of Hawaii in recorded history.

In September 1992 Iniki hit Kauai

During the days leading up to this weather event people on the islands were optimistic. They were Hawaii, after all, and Hawaii tough.

Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash toilet paper

The Islanders hoarded rice and Spam even in good times. They added to their stockpiles under their beds and met Iniki head on.

The ordeal lasted hours, people gathered and rode out the storm and came out to view the destruction.

Phones were down, everywhere and cell phones were scarce, cell towers, even more so. There was no way for the Islanders to reach out to their families.

A few days after the storm, the phone companies erected free call stations, actual phone banks. People would stand in line and make quick calls to worried family members.

The Clean Up Began

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash washing hands

Between phone calls I received letters in the mail. It was interesting to note that on one day, the people would pitch in and chainsaws ran until it was too dark to work. I would speak with my family member and she would be so excited and moved by all of the people coming out. A man with a chainsaw was as popular as a Chippindale’s Dancer.

A day or two later, the mood would change. People would go through various stages of grief. The same woman who was so upbeat and inspired would spend her phone call expressing anger at not being able to find a place to stay.

This went on for a very long time. Calls and letters eased up. The Islanders began to find their new normal. Housing was a huge problem. Senior housing was made available but my family member had a son who didn’t meet the age requirement.

They eventually found a hotel. Things became predictable again. My mailbox began to fill with little packets of hotel soap. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in hospitals and would save my sugar packets with images of North American Birds and send them home for my siblings to enjoy.

During the past few weeks, our world has experienced uncertainty and fear and anger and our day to day is filled with dread, doubt and worry.

During Iniki, people did not have cellphones, internet and many of them didn’t have homes to shelter in. We have The Writer’s Chatroom and we are open every Wednesday and Sunday. Come on over. We can talk about writing or talk each other off the ledge. We can do this.

Tonight’s chat begins at 8PM EDT at

Hurricane Iniki (/iːˈniːkiː/ ee-NEE-keeHawaiian: ʻiniki meaning “strong and piercing wind”) was the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. state of Hawaii in recorded history.

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