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Joplin Tornado - My Story Day 1

Updated on February 11, 2012

My husband, son and I spent the night after the storm in our wounded house. We sat in recliners and stretched out on the couch in the dry den, but not much sleeping was done. I began to get stiff in the wee hours, and went outside to watch the bulldozers on the streets. Immediately someone got out of the cab and came over to see if there was anything I needed, water, a ride or anything. There was no current, of course, but things did not seem very dark. I got back into my recliner and waited for dawn.

At about 5:00am Jeff and I were both up. The car that was outside was totaled, and lifted partly off the driveway, with a piece of roof under one wheel. The ones in the garage had the rear windows smashed. We stepped out into the gray silent light and looked at our quiet neighborhood. Somehow it looked worse this morning than it did last night. Our house looked worse. It was beginning to sink in. All over was the eerie sound of car alarms and beepers going off as their batteries slowly died.

In the garage I found one of my paintings, and my orchid under the car. I soon realized what the line on the wall was that I didn't understand yesterday. The wall was torn off the foundation and bent, and things from the living room had been sucked under it into the garage.

I was hoping the cat would show up for her breakfast, but there was no sign of her. I desperately wanted to hear some news, have some contact with somebody outside of this broken neighborhood. How bad was the storm? How big? Is anybody talking about it? Is anything else happening in the world out there? Jeff's phone and mine were dead, and we wanted to be careful not to run down Mark's.

Obviously we had to go somewhere. Mark spoke to several of his friends, and we accepted an invitation from one who lives a little way outside of town. Jeff wanted to check and see if he could stay on the campus of Ozark Christian College to be closer so he could deal with whatever business he could. So we decided to make a trip out to the campus, since we couldn't get through on the phone.

There were a few people about, but most had left last night. We got some help moving a tree from our driveway so we could get out. People came by in a vehicle giving out bottled water. Jeff and I got in the car and drove out. There were no street signs, and all landmarks were gone. We almost missed Main St. But there were street names painted on many streets. The scene went on and on.

Finally we drove out of the damage zone. Our dented car with no rear window and insulation plastered all over it looked worse out here. Everyone who saw knew that we had come from "ground zero".

Yes, Jeff could stay on the campus. No, there was no internet there, so still no news. Why does it feel so strange to be out of contact with the world?

On our way back to the house we were stopped. You can't go in there, we were told. But our son is there at the house, we have to get back. No, go to Memorial Hall and look for him there, we were told. We drove off, frustrated because he was not at Memorial Hall, we just left the house for a few minutes, and needed to get back to get our things. It was raining again. The car was getting wetter and wetter. Then I noticed that there was sleet in the rain. We turned down a different street, that was not blocked, and got home.

We packed up a few clothing items, and my c-pap, and headed to our friends' house, little dog Shai in tow.

They had fixed a big lunch of spaghetti for a crowd of people that were there. Oh no. I can't eat wheat, tomatoes or cheese. This is going to be hard to avoid my food sensitivities without being a major pain to these kind people. I ate broccoli, and the daughter fixed me some fish. Supper was chicken and noodles, with mashed potatoes. Oh, I can't have potatoes either. I had just a little, knowing that it would make my muscles stiffer than they were already beginning to feel.

Oh, a hot shower and shampoo to get out all the insulation and junk never felt so good! The shirt I put on started to itch. Fiberglass insulation. Ed gave me another to put on.

Their dog had manners. He stayed off the furniture, and out of the kitchen while they were eating. Our Shai was accustomed to leaping all over the furniture and wandering around our feet when we ate.

Early to bed, sleep soundly. I was actually sleeping in Beth's parents home right next door. They fixed a lovely breakfast. Then what was I supposed to do? Was I to hang out here, or go down to Beth's house? Where can I watch some news? My phone was charged up, but I couldn't get through to anybody. Why in the world am I so sore? Will it ever stop raining?

Next story: Joplin EF5 Tornado - My Story Day 2


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    • kat11 profile image

      kat11 6 years ago from Illinois

      Wow I am glad that your family is safe.My daughter last summer made blankets or throws for a fund raiser to be able to go overseas for the People to People Ambassador program. I had several totes filled with partial throws, pillows,and such what was I going to do with all of it. I made some for gifts but then what. The past few weeks I have been working diligently on left over or cut fleece material to make blankets or throws for the people of Joplin.

    • GracieLake profile image

      GracieLake 6 years ago from Arizona

      Whoa. What a surreal event to live through. Thanks for posting.