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May 04, 2003

Why I Like Thunder.

Two things:

First, when I was a kid, less than ten years old, we lived in Malden MA. Our house was under the final approach to one of Logan Airport's busiest runways. Around this time the Boeing 707 was introduced. It was one of the first, really popular, commercial jet airliners. All day long these legendarily loud, four-engine jets would pass over our house. I grew up associating this loud noise with the safety and security of my home, and particularly my bedroom which had its window facing the passing jets.

Second, when I was a little older, early teens, we started spending spring through fall weekends at our home in Pawtuckaway, NH -- the place where I'm living right now. Back then the place was heated with a big, clunking, propane gas heater that sat in the living room. When the thermostat set it off, the burner would light with a whoooosh, and a big fan would blow the warm air out into the house. I'd lie in bed in the middle of the night, and when I would start to feel cold I'd wait for the heater to turn on. In the quiet of the night the sound of this fan seemed louder than ever. But it was comforting because it signalled that the warm air would arrive soon, and I'd fall comfortably a to this roar in the livingroom.

I'm certain that these two things imprinted in my mind the idea that loud noises are a sign of safety, warmth, and security. So when I hear thunder I'll often run out to hear it better, and watch the lightning.

By the way, don't think that I'm totally reckless to the dangers of lightning. I'll admit that I'm not as leary of it as many are, but I use what I think is good sense in things like not standing in an open field during a storm, or too close to the highest tree in the area. I know that it can hurt you, but I'm also fascinated by it.

Posted by jghiii at May 4, 2003 11:49 AM
Posted by: Mr Peabody on May 4, 2003 04:33 PM

"First, when I was a kid, less than ten years old,"

So, this was in the 1940s.....?

Posted by: Mr Peabody on May 4, 2003 05:24 PM

For me, it was the sound of a railroad train going by. In my first home in Melrose, we lived several blocks from the tracks. I learned to love being under this quaint stone railroad bridge that crossed Melrose Street near the Fire Station at Tremont Street.

Later, when I lived in Western Massachusetts, I tended to live, unintentionally, in apartments that were near the tracks. My favorite apartment, four rooms in a square at 60 Pleasant Street in Greenfield, was about 50 yards from the tracks. I got used to and familiar with the rattling vibrations that would signal a train was coming long before the sounds announced it. It became a comforting sound -- I fully understand what you mean -- and on holidays when the trains wouldn't run, I would have a sense of disconnection until I realized what was missing in my day.

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