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By Pat Turner
My about-to-be wife and I were going to school at Washington State University and were about to move into our new rented home north of Pullman. We were very excited about living in a house and wanted everything perfect before we moved in. We decided to deep-clean the place and steam-clean all the carpets in the house, so on the Saturday before the mountain blew we headed out to get the job done.
We spent the entire day cleaning and scrubbing and making sure it was ready for us. Of course, we decided to leave all the windows open until our return so the house could properly vent and dry out. Sunday the mountain exploded, and by mid-afternoon Pullman was shrouded in darkness as the ash cloud passed overhead, dropping the flour like ash over everything. It was an amazing sight, and the last thing on our mind was the house.
On Monday, after things had calmed down, we decided to head back out to the house only to discover the entire inside covered in ash. As my wife cleaned shelves and tables, I was on my hands and knees using the nozzle of the vacuum to suck every grain of ash out of every square inch of that freshly steam-cleaned carpet.
I will never forget that experience! But, one good thing, because I was involved in pottery at the time, I did collect a bunch of ash to use in a glaze. I still have that treasure here in our house in Fairbanks, Alaska. Just don’t ask me where.