I thought it would be interesting to look back in time and reflect on where I was and what I was doing during prior emergence of the Brood X Cicadas. There have been other emergence of other broods during my life, but Brood X gets all the attention, so I will pay my respect to the many fallen cicadas by remembering the billions upon billions of the Auchenorrhyncha species. I am sure my recall is not total, or perfect, but here is what I remember.
1953 – I was seven years old, living in either Camp Washington or Mount Washington. I have no recollection of the swarm that year. This is probably because I was a young boy and would rather play with the bugs then be concerned with them, or more likely, that is just another one of the vast numbers of childhood memories I have lost to time. My wife had not been born yet so I feel certain that she had no issues with them that year either.
1970 – I was 24 years old and serving my seventh of eight years in the U.S. Navy. I was stationed aboard the USS Hoist ARS-40, a Fleet Rescue and Salvage Ship. My home port was Norfolk, Va. I have no recollection dealing with cicadas, so they were not in that area, or I was at sea, where there are none. I had not met my wife yet, but I am confident she was freaking out.
1987 – I was 41 years old and working as a Police Specialist in the Cincinnati Police Department’s District Four. I worked in many of the older neighborhoods and the creatures were extremely heavy in those areas. One could not walk without hearing the crunch as their bodies covered the sidewalks and had to constantly swat at the airborne females who considered me asan interesting looking tree. At home, the major concern was keeping the front porch swept clear and the driveway free of the insects from the point where my wife would arrive home and make a mad dash from the car to the house. This year stands out in my memory as one of the worse.
2004 – I was 58 years old and working full time as a Senior Computer Programmer Analyst for the Cincinnati Police Department. My office was in Price Hill and the cicadas manifested quite heavily in that neighborhood. I remember there was a need to sweep the areas around the building entrances as the insects would collect there and crawl through the cracks at the bottom of the doors. The season was marked by the occasional scream of a female employee when an errant cicada approached her. I have no recollection of any issues at home that year, but I can say with certainty my wife was not happy about it.
2021 – This year, I am 75 years old and fully retired. The Cicadas are in full swing, quite noisy, and have no impact on my life other than my efforts to try to minimize the opportunity for one to land on my wife, or even get in close proximity to her person. I guess I should also mention the disgusting number of their carcasses I have removed from my pool skimmer.
Those are my recollections of the cicada emergence over the years. Although it seems more frequent, it has only happened five times in my life, so I guess that is not so bad. The next time they emerge I will be 92 years old and may or may not be around to witness the event. Hopefully, I am. There are two certainties about the Brood X cicada mergence that are a surety. They will emerge every 17 years, and my wife will not be happy about it.