Lenny and Marcia Brod clearly remember one sleepless night 25 years ago. It was the eve of Hurricane Andrew.
“We were novices,” said Marcia Brod, 67. “It was a first time any kind of hurricane was coming through that was significant.”
In 1992, they were raising their two kids in a new home located on 128th Street and Southwest 107th Avenue in Miami. They had barely planned for the Category 5 storm hurling toward South Florida.
Marcia is from Hyattsville, Maryland, a city outside Washington, D.C. Her husband, Lenny, 68, is from upstate New York. The couple met at the University of Miami in the 1960s.
WLRN spoke with the Brods as part of WLRN and HistoryMiami’s Miami Stories booth during opening night of the museum’s exhibit: Hurricane Andrew: 25 years later. The following is an edited excerpt of their conversation:
Marcia: We ended up staying in the living room area. We closed off all the doors to the bedrooms. And later in the middle of the night, we hear the windows.
The windows from the east broke in and the wind blew out the north-south side windows.
The water started soaking the carpet through the house and we ended up in a bathroom. And that’s where we ended up spending the night. It was the two of us and our two children. You heard wind.
Lenny: Well, you would hear things hitting the windows, or at least I heard things. And the kids were 11 and 8. They sort of were probably a little nervous.
We tried not being nervous. Listening to a transistor radio. And who were we listening to?
Marcia: Bryan Norcross. And I remember when the eye went by, things quieted down. We went into the bedrooms and tried to put up some plywood on the window to prevent more water coming in.
Lenny: I did get it up there, yeah.
Marcia: The amazing part was in the morning. Lenny went out before the rest of us and he came back in and he says, “You’re not going to believe it.”
I don’t know what an atom bomb would be like, but when you went outside, all the trees were bent down going west.
And there were no leaves on anything, just to see the amount of trees that fell. And yet we had this huge Norfolk Island pine in the front – it must have been 30 or 40 feet high – and the thing was still standing. And just one side, the east side, there wasn’t a stick of branches left.
It was pretty shocking.
And compared to most, I guess, minimal damage. No electricity for about 10 days, in the middle of August.
Lenny would go to work. He worked in North Dade so he had air conditioning and the lap of luxury.
Lenny: Well, it was great. Traveling up the Turnpike wasn’t too bad. And then getting up really by the county line, everything was nice. Birds were chirping and the sun was out and people were going about their business. I know at the end of the day, coming back home, it just got very quiet and dark and lonely.
Marcia: And the kids’ school was damaged, so they couldn’t go the regular school. At that time, they were just constructing Southwest 120th street underneath the Turnpike.
The road had not been opened yet. But the kids were being bused to another school west of the Turnpike and they actually opened the road up before it was supposed to be because it was such a long way to get around and so much destruction.
Lenny: After every disaster, it seems that everyone comes together; everyone gets friendly. Fences are literally and figuratively down. People talk to each other. Then after weeks and months, people go back to their old ways. It’s just not as friendly and congenial as it was.
Marcia: Real life starts to happen again, I guess.
An earlier version of this story referred to Hurricane Andrew as a Category 4 hurricane. It was a Category 5 hurricane. It got reclassified as a Category 5 in 2002.
This story, as told by Marcia and Lenny Brod is part of an oral history series called "Miami Stories"- a partnership with HistoryMiami museum.
You can hear all the stories we collected and aired on WLRN for the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew here: