"I remember the water came up to my knees. But I don't really remember the wind at all -- at least not like this," he said Saturday, nodding toward the giant, splintered oak tree sprawling across his College Park street where the shingles from his roof were scattered.
Hurricanes, she told him, are big, noisy storms with a lot of wind and rain.
What his mom didn't tell him, because how could she have known, was how a branch would smash through the roof into his little brother's bedroom, and how quickly Jacob's backyard swing set would be crushed by a falling tree.
When Hurricane Charley ripped through Central Florida, Lee Coulter and Jacob Boyd had this in common with everyone else who huddled in the dark and waited for the worst to pass: No matter whether their information came from professional forecasters, personal experience or their own mothers, no one knew exactly what to expect.
It's partly just the vagaries of hurricanes, which may go left or right, or strengthen or weaken, without regard to what the computer models predict.
But it's also because of the four decades of good luck that ended abruptly with Charley's arrival.
It had been 44 years since Hurricane Donna, following a path similar to Charley's up the Florida peninsula, churned through Orlando. Inland Central Florida hadn't been hit with hurricane-force winds since.
In 1960, when Donna struck, the population of pre-Disney metropolitan Orlando was less than 400,000. Now, it's more than 1.7 million.
Most Central Floridians, before Charley, had never experienced a hurricane.
Among them was Bob Dukes, who was using a chain saw Saturday to cut up the oak branches that had fallen in his front yard on Reading Drive in College Park.
Dukes, who works in commercial real estate, lived in Oklahoma until he moved to Orlando in 1987. He wasn't sure what to expect from a hurricane, but didn't think it could be as bad as the killer twisters that frequently rip through Oklahoma.
"I'm used to tornadoes, not hurricanes," said Dukes, 48. "At least with hurricanes you get a pretty good warning they're coming. With tornadoes, you never know."
But after weathering Charley in his home Friday night, Dukes had a grudging respect for hurricanes. He wasn't sure how hard the wind was blowing at its worst, he said, because it didn't seem to make much sense to go outside to find out.
But when the storm passed and he could take a look, he saw the ruins of a massive oak tree across the street. The tree was more than 50 feet tall, and its trunk 5 or 6 feet thick. When it fell, it yanked a ball of roots and dirt 15 feet across out of the ground and ripped up a long stretch of concrete curbstones.
With the wind and the rain, Dukes said, he never even heard it go down.
A few houses up the street, Lee Coulter could have told Dukes about his experience with a hurricane. But it might not have been much help.
Coulter, 49, a grants administrator for Orange County, was born and raised in Orlando and is one of the increasingly few Central Floridians who were here the last time a hurricane struck.