Yesterday I was driving in to work in the dark when an old song came on the radio - Gloria by Van Morrison and the band 'Them'. Immediately I was tapping out the beat and was transported back to September 27th, 1985 - the beginning of my sophomore year at Harvard University. On that long-ago, September day all that played on the radio in Boston was various versions of 'Gloria' (Doors, Hendrix, Branigan etc). G-L-O-R-I-A - Gloria.
Hurricane Gloria was bearing down on the City of Boston and for just the 3rd time in the 20th century classes had been cancelled at Harvard University (click here for contemporary article about the storm). Everywhere there where taped windows and the lines at the liquor stores were going out doors and down sidewalks. G-L-O-R-I-A was blaring out of every car door and dorm window. The storm was getting hyped as the 'largest of the 20th century - bigger even than the hurricane of '38. Boston was going to get crushed. We could not wait!
Students had been encouraged to hole up in their dorms, and wait out the storm. Yet everybody was rushing to the liquor store. The wind was picking up and colored leaves were blowing off of the trees.
And for a while there we did hole up in our dorm rooms. In my dorm they evacuated the high rise rooms and the refugees joined us in the low rise for a 'Glorious' party. The drink of the day was aptly called a 'hurricane gloria' and consisted mostly of rum.
Later in the afternoon when the storm hit in earnest we all went outside to be a part of it. And it was G.L.O.R.I.A chaos as other 'hurricane parties' all across campus also emptied out onto the streets of Cambridge. Huge white cap waves were stirring up the brown water of the Charles and drunken students caroused under the trees. I remember a roommate wading out chest deep into the river and almost getting arrested, impromptu football games under the trees that were whipping back and forth like stalks of grass, and over all the intense roar of the hurricane. But the crescendo for me was a Harvard cop with a thick South Boston accent repeating through a bullhorn over the chaos, 'Futchah leadhas of Americah - go back to your rooms'.
Winds did top out at almost 100 miles per hour, but Boston did not get crushed. The storm ended and the students that had not already passed out went to bed with a hangover. Harvard woke up to sunny skies and taped windows, and the football game was played as scheduled.
And her name is G. (G) L. (L) O. (O) R, (R) I. (I). yi-yi-yi-yi
I'm wanna shout it ev'ry night (Gloria)
I'm wanna shout it ev'ry day (Gloria)Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, all right