In 1992, he was six years old and living in Fairfax County, Virginia, but he happened to be visiting Miami during Hurricane Andrew. Around the same time, he’d been listening to tapes of the story, “The War of the Worlds” by Orson Welles. His mom would play them for Danny and his brother, Alexis, before they went to bed at night.
Before she ever played the tapes, Danny’s mom explained the back story of the original 1938 broadcast of a dramatization of “The War of the Worlds”–that people thought this was really happening and panicked. Young Danny was fascinated by this back story as he listened and suspended his disbelief, wondering if this alien invasion really could be happening somewhere.
The day before Hurricane Andrew struck, Danny was in Miami for his uncle’s wedding. He noticed the adults were transfixed on a green blotch on the TV screen. Six-year-old Danny absorbed that this splotch was scary to adults and meant destruction. However, he had a hard time sorting out whether this was a real broadcast or a dramatization like “War of the Worlds.” Listen to Danny’s account of Hurricane Andrew through his six-year-old eyes on the player above.Danny’s family’s house was alright after the storm, except for a large awning that blew down the street. Danny particularly remembers an uprooted banyan tree:
We went to my tia’s house in Shanandoah, and they had a big banyan tree or a willow tree with those spreading roots. The wind had just knocked it over. The tree went sideways, and the roots were three times taller that I was. I’m looking up at this huge wall of roots and it’s like 10-12 feet high. It was huge to me as a child. I was in awe that yesterday I was walking on these roots, and now they were my ceiling. It was a weird feeling.
You can read or listen to more personal accounts commemorating the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew when you visit our “Remembering Andrew” Storify.