I sit here numb as I keep hearing the reports and the number keep growing. We lived in Moore
back in 1999 when the May 3rd tornado came through. We had only lived in Oklahoma for a short time.
We had bought our first house and my husband was at work about 15 miles north of our home. I was home
alone with my only child at that point who was 7. I didn’t know it yet but I was pregnant with my 2nd child.
I was watching the news when Gary England said, “If you are above ground you will not survive.” I didn’t
have a storm shelter so we were in the hall closet. I was staying calm to keep my daughter calm but inside I was a
nervous wreck. I didn’t know anything about tornado’s. I grabbed her some snacks and juice and pillows and
blankets and I kept watch out the front door while the TV was blaring in the background. My husband was locked
down at work as tornado’s were ALL over the state. I was talking to my in-laws, also in Moore, and the phones
went dead and it seemed the worst of it had passed. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t get anyone on the phone
like always happens in a mass emergency like this. So, what did dumb ole me do. Put my daughter in my car
and took off to go to my in-laws to check on them. I drove straight through the tornado’s path of destruction.
I saw rubble everywhere. Apartment complex’s were leveled to piles of bricks and houses were completely gone. Trees were stripped or completely pulled out of the ground. People were wandering around lost looks in their eyes. I couldn’t
hold it together anymore. I just started bawling. Tears were running down my face and my 7-year-old was patting
my shoulder telling me it would be OK. That was the hardest thing I had ever experienced to that point. Everyone was fine when we got to their home. Then in 2003 when the tornado came through and wiped out the Loves truck stop and adjacent Anderson’s Travel Plaza (where my daughter was working) along with many other homes and structures. I was in a panic again. We jumped in the truck and drove straight down the road about 5miles to Anderson’s. We couldn’t make it all the way because of downed power poles across the road so since my brain doesn’t work correctly in emergencies, what did I do. I get out and go running and jumping electric lines and power poles to find my daughter. Thankfully she went in a cooler and was in perfect physical condition. Mentally the tornado will never leave her mind but she was safe.
You know that we just sold our old home and moved up Northwest closer to Tulsa this last November and I have never been happier with that decision. However, all of those feelings come rushing back. Panic set in when talking to my mother-in-law. She told me they were all OK but that her daughter didn’t know where her son was. He wasn’t answering his phone. He should have been at school but no one could find out anything. She took off to find him. I didn’t think she would get very far because
they close the streets down when things like this happen but it must have still been early enough she was able to get through and get to him. We were glad that he was safe and sound. He was at his school, which was damaged, but he was safe and not hurt.
I am sitting safe and sound in my living room with my family and I am so thankful yet I am so torn and heartbroken. I watch the news and the reports keep growing worse.
First report of three casualties at a 7-11 about a block north of our old rental house. It was a young family including their 4-month-old baby.
Then it was 4 at the 7-11, then they had confirmation of 7 young children and a badly hit school which then jumped to two dozen children confirmed dead at that school.
Then it was 35, 37, 51 and still growing. I sit here heartbroken for all the families of those lost and those still missing. Parents are on the news looking
for their children. It is chaos, heartbreak and devastation. PLEASE pray with me for everyone affected over the last two days.