I was finishing my last two ballet classes where I taught classical dance in Lubbock, Texas at my studio in 1979. My husband was in medical school and my daughter was only nine years old.
I was looking forward to my parents coming for a visit of a few days.
When I arrived home, we were all happy to see each other. They had traveled 200 miles from Wichita Falls, Texas.
My cousin called and said a tornado had destroyed the Mall in Wichita Falls. My father had a real estate business close to this Mall. He called his mother and she was fine in Vernon, Texas. Her name was Connie. She and my grandfather owned a monument business there and the tornado had been in Vernon and killed about 11 people.
Early the next morning they drove home but all they had was gone. They did not have much insurance. After one day, my husband, daughter and I drove there and stayed in a partially damaged home to help them rebuild. We were glad we took water and food with us as these were hard to find. Helicopters flew over head and there was no electricity. Debris was everywhere and all landmarks were gone. It looked like a bomb had destroyed the whole city of 100 thousand people The death toll was 53 but thousands were injured.
My mother was a first grade teacher and the schools were out for Spring break-luckily as more would have been killed. Schools, businesses and churches were all gone and laid in a heap of rubble everywhere you looked.
My father fell in the debris and had to go to the hospital and get a cast and could not do anything physical which probably saved him from having a heart attack.
Mother said she did not understand why this happened but maybe people had become too materialistic. The first night they had no sleep but my mother in law let them stay with her until they found a place to stay for a few days until FEMA gave them a trailer to live in and a 3 per cent interest loan so they could rebuild their home.
In twenty minutes all of their material possessions were gone. Their home, business and three rental homes no longer existed.
The couple across the street had been killed as they tried to out run the tornado in a car.
The moral to the story is to have insurance and be thankful you survived a horrible life experience such as this.
My father was the one who had the tornado sirens placed in this city and there is no telling how many lives were saved because of his actions.