U – Umbrella

U“When my water-proof umbrella proved a sieve, sieve, sieve,

When my shiny new umbrella proved a sieve.” Rossiter Johnson

“Let a smile be your umbrella, and you’ll end up with a face full of rain.”   George Carlin

 Umbrellas truly provide all manners of entertainment, oops, I meant to say protection.  Of course they shelter us from the rain and the elements … correct?  While I lived down at the beaches outside of Los Angeles, California, the rain seldom fell, but when the rain did decide to anoint us, we simply carried umbrellas or went without as it didn’t usually rain that long or hard.

But then when I reached college age I wanted to return to the Northwest as that is where my grandparents resided. I looked at a variety of colleges in Washington and Oregon but decided on a college in Bellingham 80 miles north from my childhood home in Kirkland.  I knew that several of my childhood friends would be going to Western where we would be united. Then, the college was called Western Washington State College, now it has grown to a university.

I had so much fun shopping for school clothes and a nice winter coat.  Plus, I purchased a nice, sturdy umbrella for the wintery, wet weather.  Boy, I was all prepared for school to start!

The town of Bellingham is at the northern entrance of the Puget Sound into the Straits of Juan de Fuca so the winds really whip through town.  However, when I was small and visited my grandparents in town I had been sheltered from the elements and didn’t remember the wind’s velocity.  When my college classes started I was anxious to start classes with the other students.  Winter in the Northwest however can get wet and WILD.  But, I had my new umbrella … I was primed!

One day as I headed to class, the rain was blowing sideways as I hunkered down behind and under my umbrella like one would hide behind a shield.  Everything was going fine as I had a two-hand grip on my umbrella.  Suddenly, the direction of the wind changed.  In the blink of an eye, my umbrella blew inside out and became an enormous bowl over my head.  Instantaneously, this bowl made of material filled with water.  The weight of the rain ripped my umbrella and I was dowsed with water as if a fire hydrant had opened up directly over my head.  I stood dripping wet as if I had just exited fully dressed from the shower. Now, I understand why the rest of the kids wore coats with hoods!

I want you to know, that was the last time I used an umbrella!  I promptly went out to the store to purchase a coat with a hood.  No more cold water showers for me!



About Gwynn Rogers

After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn has moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not teaching her granddaughters an extensive vocabulary of “alley-oop-boop, ups-a-daisy, cowabunga or bummer”, Gwynn can be found hunting for mentors for the Kitsap Youth Mentoring Consortium, or chasing her fantasies on her treadmill. Gwynn currently freelances for magazines.
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10 Responses to U – Umbrella

  1. Susan Scott says:

    Good one Gwynn thank you! I used to NEVER have an umbrella as they’re a bit Unwieldy, but I’ve learned the hard way. When I don’t have one in my e.g. car, that’s when I need it and vice versa when I do have it there, it never rains. Go figure. Murphy’s law in full operation. I’ve never used a coat with a hood …
    Garden of Eden Blog

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Up here in the NW, the winds really whip around. I have seen more umbrellas blow inside out and rip than I can shake a stick at. A coat with a hood can be a nuisance for keeping our hair combed, but at least we stay dry! Few people carry umbrellas up here. I keep looking for Mary Poppins though! 😉

  2. Lesson quickly learned, right? 🙂 I used an umbrella in Europe, because I had to walk on foot quite a lot, but here in So. Cal. we drive everywhere, and quickly dashing through the rain, when we have rain. We really need it out here, badly. A friend was just telling me we should probably think about doing the rain dance pretty soon.
    Great story, Gwynn, thanks for sharing.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Hi Silvia, my high school buddies still live down at the beaches in So. Cal. I hear frequently about the need of rain. I definitely WOULD start doing your rain dance, but don’t ask for too much rains as Malibu will start sliding again. Plus, any areas that have been hit by fires.

      Actually, maybe we should ship our rain down to you. We definitely do green very well up here, but the summers have been getting warmer than they used to. I’ll work at sending some of my rain on down to you. I’ll encapsulate it in my umbrella! 😉

  3. Tina Peterson says:

    Loved it! I remember being in a similar situation a couple of years ago when So. Calif. was having a particularly rainy year. I was walking around a nursery down in Newport Beach and was thrilled that they were offering umbrellas as you walked into their facility. It had just started raining and, like Silvia, I figured I’d just need to run from the car onto the grounds. But the rain wasn’t stopping and this is a BIG nursery, so having the umbrella option was perfect. Wouldn’t you know it, the wind picked up and, sure enough, the umbrella was flipped “inside out”! I felt terrible that the company’s umbrella was lost but they were very gracious about it. It was fun to see your story and be reminded at how fast the wind can turn the tide on us! Thanks!!

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Umbrellas have this habit of flipping inside out at the drop of a hat. It is SO embarrassing when that happens. Hey, click on Sylvia’s picture. I think you would really love her blog!

      Thanks for commenting Tina!

  4. patgarcia says:

    Sounds like you have lots of rainy weather in your part of the country. I don’t think I would want to live there because I get more than my share of rain here in Germany.
    Very nice post and one I enjoyed reading.


    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Yup, Germany’s weather is VERY similar to Washington’s weather. You are a sunshine girl and I can’t take the heat. Now, and umbrella WOULD work better for you as it would shade you from the heat and would NOT douse you with cold water! 😉

      Thanks for your time and comments!

  5. Yes, I had to learn to use an umbrella all over again — and remember to carry it — after returning to the East Coast from living in Southern California. It seems even when it did rain out there, we never used umbrellas. I remember when I was running my executive lunch route, delivering sandwiches and salads to office workers, even on those rare rainy days I didn’t carry an umbrella — couldn’t anyway while pulling a cart –, often arriving inside the office looking as if I’d just stepped out of the shower.

    I had an airline pilot friend out there, a Brit, who said that those orange and black “Men Working” signs we see along the highway look like someone struggling with an umbrella in a storm.

    • Gwynn Rogers says:

      Yes, the orange and black “Men Working” signs typically blow over up here unless the workers put blocks on the base of the sign to prevent it from falling over.

      Now, doesn’t the East Coast get high gusty winds as we do here on the West coast? I would think you could easily play Mary Poppins over there and float out over the Delaware River. 😉

      Thank you, again, for taking the time to comment. You have been busy. You have nearly read all of my stories. I can’t believe I survived this challenge. I AM so excited!

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