Terror at the Farm
I’ll never forget this story my mom told me when she was a child. It amazes me how it happened and how she survived. I’m sharing mom’s story from her point of view (first person).
I believe it was 1943. I remember because my brother was still in the U.S. Navy fighting in WWII.
It was the night before Easter Sunday. Three of us girls were taking baths upstairs, while mom sat in the kitchen sewing our Easter dresses. The sewing machine had always been next to the window on the west wall. Mom spent many hours there.
Dad had taken the older children to town to watch a movie. They got to do this because they were older. We had to stay at home, but we didn’t mind.
We had just dried off from our baths and gotten into our pajamas when mother called us downstairs. While sewing, she had glanced out the window and saw a strange black cloud. Not a funnel, just an odd shaped cloud. As the sky grew darker, she gathered me and my sisters and we rushed outside and went down into the root cellar.
I remember that cellar because it had a small window near the ceiling. The rest of the cellar was underground. Mom had us huddle together in the small, dark area, while she moved to look out the window. To this day, I’ll never forget the feeling of terror I had as the window blew in on my mother and a loud roar. She rushed to our side and gathered us in her arms as a tornado tore through our farm. Once it passed, we looked at our mom expecting her face to bloodied, but it was the oddest thing, my mother hadn’t been touched. Not a scratch.
There was nothing but silence when we climbed from the cellar. There was also very little of our farm. The only thing left was the kitchen. Everything was flattened, in the field and trees or gone. They would find many of our things later in fields, miles away.
We were stunned, too shocked to move until we heard the sobs of my mother. Mom had just gotten three-hundred chicks. My dad had built a brooder house for them and apparently, it had blown up into the trees and exploded apart. My mom was crying as she raced to pick up the surviving chicks. Back then, many women wore aprons and I recall mom scooping them up and placing them in the apron pouch. She was devastated by the loss of her chicks. Only one-hundred survived.
I remember in shocked amusement that our piglets had found their way into our kitchen and were licking up the cream that had spilled on our floor when the separator had fallen; a separator separated the cream from the milk.
In the distance, we heard the moo of a cow. Daisy! Daisy was our milk cow. We followed her call of distress and found her laying on her knees under the corn crib. By that time, mom had collected most of her chicks and together we were able to move the crib from our family cow. Daisy would go on to live a full life.
My father wasn’t aware a tornado had hit his farm until the sheriff found him and the rest of my brothers and sisters. The sheriff told my dad there were no survivors. You see the neighbors had watched the tornado hit our farm and destroy virtually everything. They assumed we had all died.
They raced to the farm and, thankfully, found us alive.
The tornado did some weird things. First, it separated the cows and calves. The cows in one field and the calves were found in another field. All unharmed. Second, straw was driven into the front of our refrigerator, which still worked. For years, we would pick straw from the front. We could never get all the pieces out. Third and most importantly, a supporting beam from our shed was driven through the middle of the sewing machine my mother was using just moments before the tornado hit.
We were blessed that day. If my mother hadn’t noticed the odd-looking cloud, we would have perished.
I love sharing that story with you and I loved spending time with my mother as she narrated to me. Why not ask someone in your family about an experience they had as a child?