Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Living in Tornado Alley

Hearing the news of the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma yesterday, I couldn't help but be reminded of my days of living in tornado alley. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and every spring and summer we dealt with the fear of tornadoes. I lived there for 26 years before I moved and there was only one time when I had to face the green, sickly skies up close and personal.
Davidson Elementary School
I was attending school at Davidson Elementary in Kansas City North. I think I must have been in fourth grade. I vividly remember that tornado sirens were going off and our teachers escorted us to the downstairs hallway, that had no windows. As we passed the front door of the school I saw that tell-tale green sky. As we sat crowded together in the basement, I remember my friend Laura crying uncontrollably because she was worried about her mother. I remember feeling the need to be calm and talking with her to try to help her understand that her mother would know what to do to be safe.

Luckily, a tornado didn't touch down. If there was one, it was brief and completely missed the school. It wasn't until a year or so after I moved away that a tornado touched down a block from my childhood home.

My heart is sick today thinking of the poor folks in Moore. I know that life is not about things, but as a genealogist I can't help but also mourn the memories that have been lost. I wish the people of Moore the strength to get through this horrible day and the weeks to come.

7 comments:

Amanda (the librarian) said...

The tornado in Granbury, Texas, last week was my first. It touched down three miles from my home, and the baseball-sized hail does not appear to have done major damage (cars were in the garage; still waiting for a roof inspection). It's got me thinking about things to do to better preserve my genealogy work and family memories.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Me, too, Amanda. I already keep two back up hard drives of my information and rotate them out of our safe. However, I've been thinking for some time that I should keep one at my office. The chance of a tornado (or any other weather phenomenon) hitting both places is very remote.

Rosemary said...

Keep one at your office Heather. An online backup wouldn't be amiss either. I'm in Tulsa and the tornadoes went north and south of us this time following their usual path of I-44 from Oklahoma City to Joplin. No sickly greeny black skies so far, thank heavens.

Nancy said...

I've never lived through a tornado and hope I don't. My heart hurts for the people of Moore and other areas where their lives have been endangered and/or damaged by tornadoes. What a kind friend you were to the little girl who was afraid for her mom, Amanda.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Rosemary, so glad to hear the tornadoes skirted your area. I agree, I need to keep a back up in my office. Thank you, Nancy. I can't really imagine what they are going through, but I'm sick at heart as well.

Virginia Allain said...

My hometown, El Dorado KS had a killer tornado when I was in the 5th grade. Fortunately I was in a storm shelter at the time. Scary weather. 13 people died that time.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Virginia, I've been through El Dorado a number of times driving up and down I-35. I remember my great-grandmother's storm shelter. It seemed just as scary as a tornado...snakes were known to live there!