'This one takes the cake'

Bill Gowe, a retired waterman, was born and raised on Tilghman Island, a small fishing and crabbing community in the southwestern reaches of Talbot County, on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | TILGHMAN ISLAND, Md. | September 26, 2003


Bill Gowe, a retired waterman, was born and raised on Tilghman Island, a small fishing and crabbing community in the southwestern reaches of Talbot County, on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

"Isabel is the worst that I can ever remember," Gowe said. While Hurricane Hazel smashed up his hometown pretty badly, "it didn't do nothing like the damage that this one did," he said. "And the tide didn't come up like this. This one takes the cake."

Gowe's home was spared any major flood damage. But his wife's car was ruined, as well as whatever tools and equipment that Gowe kept on the floor of his tool shed in back of the house.

One major problem for the island, Gowe said, is all the fuel oil that was spilled all over the place. Cleaning it all up is going to be one major undertaking.

"Everything's greasy. I got the shiniest dog on the island," he said. "All you could smell the next day was kerosene."

Not everyone one on the island was all lucky as Gowe, however. Just down the road from him, a woman known locally as "Miss Flo," saw the entire first floor of her house completely flooded out.

At the southern tip of Tilghman Island, a low-lying salt marsh called Black Walnut Point, several trailer homes were totaled by the storm surge, including one trailer that was completely shredded, and another where a woman rode out the storm in her bathtub as the waves rolled her trailer about like a cork.


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