The images that began to filter across the media outlets Monday night from Moore, Okla., stirred intense, almost raw memories in my mind and left a hollow, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.
As I sat riveted to the television, first watching the live cam shots of the skies and then the pictures and footage of the destruction, the feelings and memories and fears became just as vivid as when they were first happening.
March of 2012. I recall almost frame by frame a clip that had been recorded on a cell phone that was played first on television and then plastered on the Internet. The entire segment wasn’t even a half minute long, but it was long enough to show the devastation of the Henryville Junior-Senior High School. The EF-4 tornado caused extensive damage, not only to buildings, but to the lives and hearts of friends and acquaintances throughout the small community. Many people lost all of the possessions they owned; at least three people lost their lives.
June of 1990. I can still see the looks on the faces of my children as we sat crammed under an office desk in the basement of the house. The deafening noise stays in my head like the reverberations of a bad garage band after their first practice. When the winds had died down in the still darkened, wee hours of the morning on June 3rd, a record 66 tornados had bullied their way up the Ohio River Valley.
My entire being shakes with the growls of three garbage trucks as they left our backyard with most of the debris that had been so abruptly regurgitated from the mouth of the tornado a couple of days later. About midnight one of the many tornados of that night touched down in our backyard, peeling the siding and shingles from our house like the skin from a banana, and leaving our neighbor’s house at the rear of our property looking like an upset box of toothpicks.