MUNCY - "In retrospect, my husband and I thought it would be neat to live by water," said Jean Hammond of Muncy. "We seriously rethought that."
Hammond, 23 at the time of Hurricane Agnes, had been married for three years. At the time, she had no children and lived in a duplex near Loyalsock Creek in Montoursville. The duplex was built on a raised foundation with steps leading up to the front porch.
"We had flood water in the house, up to the wall phone, 4 or 5 feet," she recalled. "If we hadn't had the foundation, it would have been in the second floor."
The Hammonds lived next door to a couple who were 10 years older than them. Their neighbors heard the likelihood of flooding from weather reports, so the woman and their three children left while her husband stayed behind to protect the property from pilferers.
Hammond eventually left, having to wade through the water to cross the creek where her parents-in-law lived. Her husband stayed.
"We lost connection for a couple of days," she said. "The phone lines were jammed or down. My parents from Northampton County couldn't get ahold of us. We couldn't get ahold of each other."
The pair reunited when her husband crossed the creek and they returned home to start the heavy cleaning. Gawkers drove by the home to see the damage as they tried to make their house liveable once more.
Curfews were initiated to stop people from getting in the way of flood repairs or even looting.
"They didn't realize how tired we were," Hammond said. "Some good people stepped up to help."
Montoursville faced an isolation problem as high water from the Loyalsock Creek cut off travel into the city. Route 67 north of Montoursville and Route 220 at the Montoursville bridge were closed.
When the creek reached its 30.8 foot crest, the water on the bridge was deep enough to reach car roofs. Boat travel was the only way in and out of the borough.
After the floodwaters receded, Hammond heard her husband's story. He stayed with the neighbor and others who lived in the house.
"They could hear everything crashing into the bridge," she said. "Trees, logs, cabins. They said it was horrendous, the crashing sound of the current."
They moved from the first floor to the second floor and started planning what they would do if the waters continued and the house lifted.
Along with the crashing sounds, strong smells resulted.
"The thing about living near Montour Oil, some of the big tanks in the back were leaning," she said. "You could smell fuel, oil and gasoline. Oh, and some of the transformers were blowing up. We knew there was a possibility of a huge explosion."
Being recently married, the Hammonds did not have many possessions to lose.
"We were very fortunate," she said. "As far as personal items, our couch wasn't even in the house at the time. It was sent back for damage, recalled. We were able to move the washer and dryer on the first floor upstairs. ... We did not apply for (Federal Emergency Management Agency) help."
What they had was moved to the second floor to keep it dry, including their rug. They washed the pots and pans in his mother's dishwasher.
"Move up what you can," she said. "That's a big thing if you know you're living in a flood district. It's a lot of work, but you do it to save what you have."
Living through the flood of Agnes was a lesson.
"One thing we do, when it rains that hard, we look at each other and say 'This is flood rain,' " she said. "When it doesn't let up and goes hour after hour, we talk about it and you start counting the days. You realize."