by Norma Jean Young

After a tornado was reported recently in Wisconsin, I wrote to friends who were only 60 miles from the worst of it. My intentions were to cheer them up a bit, so I related to them my only experience with a tornado.

It was probably about 1951, late on a Sunday evening. In those years I was scared silly of lightning, so to get me to shut up we got in our car (where we would be safe—oh yeah!) and picked up Babe and Sherman Ward.

We were just riding around town, watching the storm, and eventually parked at the drug store. After a short time the wind got very strong and some wires above us were swinging a lot and Bob decided we'd better get out from under them.

We drove down the street to Five States Chevrolet garage, and parked in the “L” in front where we would be safe.

Suddenly the wind stopped. We didn't have sense enough to be scared. We just thought the storm was over, and with that stupid thought we backed out, drove around the courthouse and to the north, on the highway.

Several blocks north of the courthouse there was a rolled-up metal grain storage building, located right in the middle of the road. This was the first indication to us that the wind we had noticed must have been pretty strong.

My parents were gone that night and we were just around the block from their house (where Teresa and Ronny Begley live now), so we drove to check it out. In those days nobody locked their doors, and we went inside.

My mother was an immaculate housekeeper, but dirty clothes were scattered through the living room, hall and bathroom. As slow as we were, it didn't take us long to realize something very strange had taken place. We walked through the kitchen to the back porch, and the west door had blown open. The wind evidently went down the basement stairway, sucked up the dirty clothes that had been dropped down the bathroom-to-basement clothes chute, scattered them, then escaped at an east window that was raised about six inches.

Finally we caught on that it was a small tornado! A couple of other things also came to light. The house to the south lost its roof (nobody was hurt—just scared half to death), and John Price's gas truck parked north-south across the street was lifted up and set down with the truck's front bumper hooked over the back bumper of the car that was around the corner parked east and west. That was a big surprise when John came out to see what was taking place.

We heard of very little damage throughout the town, but the twister went on to the northeast to the Showalter Swimming Pool, picked up all the small buildings around and dumped them into the empty pool.

But nobody was hurt in all these happenings—except for my mother's feelings. She was afraid anybody who heard about it would think she was a sloppy housekeeper.

Boise City News
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Phone: 580 544-2222
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