Rains of 1955
Sixty-Three years ago Milton was enjoying a wonderful summer, not too hot, it was just right. Dick Russell and his wife Alice were happy in their newly built house on Gibbons Street. The location was perfect for raising a family just off the main streets and next to the Pine Tree Brook. It was like living in paradise right in the middle of nature and a haven for children who played along the brook.
At this time of the year the brook was at its lowest level, perfect for looking for frogs and everything a young child could conjure up. Wading in the brook was frowned upon by the adults, but still an adventurous child would occasionally take the plunge.
It was raining that Friday, August 19, 1955 when Russell left early in the morning to his job at Russell’s Diner in Quincy. It was fish day the busiest day of the week at the popular diner.
Russell laughs as he tells the story, “My wife called me at work informing me that water was coming up Gibbons Street from the brook. I was really busy and slightly annoyed and made a smart remark telling her to get a Dixie cup and start bailing.”
Russell wasn’t laughing when he rushed home and couldn’t drive down Warren Ave. because of the water.
“Warren Ave was high ground at Audubon Road as I started walking to my house. The water was above my knees,” said Russell.
Sloshing through the water at near snail’s pace Russell was concerned for his wife who was 7 months pregnant. All the power was down and Russell was near panic not having any communication with this wife.
Finally making it inside his house and after comforting his wife he opened his cellar door to find over five feet of water in his basement. Heartbroken to find his new house in such a condition Russell looked at Alice and said, “Time to man the life boat.”
An amateur speed boat racer and enthusiast Russell had the only boat in the neighborhood. Russell built the boat to race never thinking it would turn into a rescue boat as he spent that night and follow day checking and helping out his stranded neighbors.
It would rain for 72 hours and the Blue Hills Reservation recorded 15.50 inches falling during that time period.