Tornado

**This too I did not write, Heather Nail Roy did but it’s so outstanding!  I don’t really want to remember that tornado, but the reality of it, is that it hit this area.  So I’m putting this in my blog so this too, I always remember**

It’s a common question in Joplin these days; were you affected by the Tornado? For 3 weeks now I have been telling everyone no, I wasn’t affected. I still have my house. I still have my clothes, the picutres hanging on my walls, the thousand toys that… my kids leave strewn all over the floor. I still have my marriage license, my kitchen plates, and my dogs. No one in my family died, and we didn’t lose our jobs. But I’ve been lying to everyone. My own guilt, or shame, or pride maybe…I don’t know…has kept me from admitting that I WAS AFFECTED in more profound ways than losing personal posessions. First I felt guilty because the F5 tornado that ripped up 30% of the town I’ve lived in for more than 40 years, missed my house by 3 blocks. So many people lost so much, and not so much as a shingle was damaged on my house. I felt guilty because I got to hold my kids that night and tell them I loved them and tuck them in bed. I got to kiss my husband and hold his hand and feel comfort that he was there. I listened to story after story of survival and was in awe of the strength of those close to me that lived through this nightmare. I went to work and warmed a chair for a whole week, consumed with reading as much as I could about the rebuilding efforts that have been ongoing since immediately after the storm. I couldn’t take my eyes off the radar tracking the storms that continued to plague Joplin in the days immediately following the tornado. It took me about a week to actually venture into the disaster zone. I drove south on Rangeline to 32nd street, then west to Maiden Lane. I turned and drove to 26th street where Cunningham park is…was. My oldest daughter was married in the pavillion that used to sit within easy sight of St. John’s hospital. It’s all gone.

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No Man’s Land

**I did not write this, Bruce Lauderdale did, but I don’t want to forget this writing either, so if you don’t want to read, don’t feel like you have to!  This is just for me to always remember!**

Every time I drive into No-Man’s land here in Joplin my one overwhelming, inescapable feeling/emotion is “There’s only 117/128/141/151/153 dead?”  This monster didn’t care what it ran into.  It tore a 3/8-1 mile wide swath 10 miles long clear through the …heart of town.  Within that zone 8000+ homes of all types were destroyed.  I don’t know how many places I’ve stood, spun 360 degrees, and can’t see a single undamaged structure… and I shake my head.  It wrapped the frame of a bobtail truck around a tree, blew a rubber garden hose clear through a tree trunk, twisted a 9 story hospital on its foundation, pried up manhole covers, then, when it got bored with that, started sucking asphalt pavement off the ground.  “Where were you?”  is all you have to ask to get stories, stories of being in Home Depot as the roof left; of rolling down the street in a car, hiding under the dash; of sitting in a concrete safe room, behind a steel door with four latches while the house vanished; and of feeling a house around four adults and two kids walk, one step at a time completely off its foundation.    And yet we only have 153 dead??  No mistake, each one of those deaths is a tragedy and the total will probably still grow but we should be burying thousands, not less than two hundred.  By all rights we should be dozing trenches, filling them with fifty unidentified, mangled dead, and then going to the next trench.

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