The following conversation comes from NABUR, The Wenatchee World’s online discussion forum.

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Monday marks the 40th anniversary of Mount St. Helens’ eruption, one of the most significant events in the state’s history. What are your memories of that time?

“I remember it well. It was the only reason I graduated high school! I hated english and did not think much of the teacher. (I had a strong D minus going.) She informed me that I would never pass the final and I agreed. So the massive cloud came that Sunday morning and low and behold they shut the school down before we took final exams. The Superintendent of Public Instruction directed that seniors did not have to take finals and graduate if their current grade was passing! I wore my cap and grown proudly and gave the teacher a wink as my name was called!”

— Chris L.

“I was at our NCW Council Boy Scouts’ Spring Camp by Lily Lake (Wenatchee Heights area). Hearing the blast was something that reminded me of AppleYard train explosion years earlier. Fortunately, a Scout Leader had a radio on and we were informed of the eruption in plenty of time to break camp and get home. Later that day, in Wenatchee, I remember the grey sky and the ash that fell as we watched the news coverage on TV.”

— David A.

“It was the day before my 19th birthday and I was four months pregnant, we were getting ready to go to the races in East Wenatchee at Wenatchee Valley Raceway to watch my dad race (# 56) We went outside and if you looked towards Quincy the sky was black and then we noticed little black/gray specks all over the cars and pretty soon the daylight disappeared the ground was covered in ash we were all bummed because the races were canceled.”

— Terri S.

“I was living in Moses Lake. When we came out of church the sky was getting dark. It was eerie to see the darkness descend. We had so much ash. We all had to get new air filters in our cars. At first they weren’t sure if the ash was a health hazard. It was a scary time.”

— Shelley G.

“I was living in Yakima at the time. After the eruption, we could see a cloud of ash moving toward us. Shortly thereafter ash was falling throughout the city, covering houses, cars, lawns, etc. It was a mess for weeks to come.”

— Duane W.

“A group of friends had hiked up to Lake Domke to go camping. We were packing up to hike down to Lake Chelan and our boat when she blew and we heard a huge explosion. Someone jokingly said Mt Saint Helens blew. On our way down, ash started falling, the sky darkened, and when we got to our boat to head down lake we heard on a radio she did blow! Lots of ash on boat and then driving back to Wenatchee was eerie as thick ash started piling up and the sky was so dark. Everyone was very quiet as we contemplated the repercussions.”

— Kathy H.