Liz and I are watching the small explosion now taking place on Mt. St. Helens as it is carried on CNN and KGW.com. My sister Jennifer just called and can see the eruption out her office window. Very exciting (as long as everyone stays safe).
I was eleven years old and living in Portland on May 18, 1980. A telephone call from the newsroom at KOIN-TV woke up our family shortly after 8am. My father worked at the television station as the program director. He let me tag along and head off to the station with him where I spent the next 12 hours or so fetching coffee for Mike Donahue and the other reporters as they covered the biggest story in modern Northwest history. Driving into downtown we could see the huge mushroom cloud over the mountain on what I remember being a hazy morning. KOIN compiled their coverage into a documentary and companion book called Mt. St. Helens: The Volcano Explodes (if I remember the title correctly) that my father helped produce.
My friend Paul Nickell (aka WWP) lost his mother and step-father on that Sunday morning. For me the day was like a great adventure. Paul has a very different memory. On the 20th anniversary of May 18th we went together to the dedication of a new memorial on Mt. St. Helens that lists Paul’s parents as among the lost. Make sure you visit his site to hear Paul's story.
In the meantime, enjoy the show.
Photo credit: The above photo from May 18, 1980 comes from the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument