April Breaks Hearts
Faith Wylie, Oologah Lake Leader
Not here. April brings violent storms and heart-breaking memories.
Traveling back in time to the Oologah tornado has been a bumpy journey.
Stories of strength and perseverance have reminded us of the courage and character of our community. But the stories have also raised twinges of the pain of those days.
News reports also remind us of the Branch Davidian tragedy at Waco 18 years ago, and the Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City 16 years ago.
As we are pelted by hail, we recall the sounds of the Oologah tornado and the horrible 2007 ice storm.
It’s all just too personal. It makes us dread April.
Most adults here know people who lost their homes on April 26, 1991 and someone who lost a loved one on April 19, 1995.
For me, there is a personal loss. I was finishing billing so I could visit my father one last time. The tornado disrupted my plans. I did not make it in time. Those 24 hours were the worst in my life.
But it was worse for others.
At least the Oologah tornado, unlike the Murrah bombing, was an act of nature.
As we confronted nature at its worst, we saw human nature at its best.
I am reminded of the people who donated time, meals, money, cars and campers for the storm survivors.
Who can forget our tough families who lived in campers beside their demolished homes and washed their hair with a garden hose?
The telephone company installed jacks on outside poles so families could have a phone at their home site. The phone rang in the yard. (Cell phones were not common 20 years ago.)
The post office held mail until rural boxes could be replaced. Carriers kept track of those living with family and neighbors so they could get their mail.
We were stretched to our limit. We did not break.
Posted on Fri, June 17, 2011