YAKIMA, Wash. — I was a teenager living in Yakima when the mountain blew.
We got slammed with ash – at first it was scary. It went from bright sunlight to total darkness by noon.
No one knew what was going on.
When we finally got word that Mount St. Helens had erupted, we were told not to touch the ash because it could be toxic. We all wore masks outside. The ash was all over surfaces inside as well.
We were told not to drive our cars because the ash would ruin engines.
School was canceled.
My family spent weeks doing nothing but shoveling ash. It never seemed to end. My parents hired two off-duty firemen to climb on top of our steep, large roof to get all the ash off. They swept two tons off it.
The only excitement was that news crews from all over the world converged on little Yakima because we got so much ash.
Life eventually got back to normal, but the ash never left. My mom found lots of it digging in her garden the other day.