A True Story

It was April 10, 1979 and I was teaching ballet to my students in a private school in Lubbock, Texas  I could not wait to get home as my parents, Robert and Irene Winters were coming to spend a few days with my husband and small daughter Emily and myself.

They arrived after the dusty long trip of 200 miles from Wichita Falls, Texas.

My husband was in medical school and my daughter was about six years old. This is a true story.


We got a call from a cousin who said the Mall in Wichita Falls had been destroyed by a large tornado.

The nightly news also confirmed this so my father called his mother in Vernon, Texas and she was fine.


My parents were worried as their real estate office was just across the street from the Mall. They left early the next morning and we followed the next day with jugs of water and some food. No phones were working.


A powerful tornado had gone into the city and its path was ten miles long and a mile wide in places. Our family had no home to go to. It was destroyed. One bed room was gone except for a bed with my fathers guns under it. The roof was gone and it was unsafe

Their real estate office was gone and so was all of their three rental homes so they had nothing left and no insurance on most of the properties.


My husband and daughter and I lived in a small home that had not been as damaged one street over. My parents stayed in a rented apartment until FEMA gave them a trailer.


I remember working out in the hot sun and food and water were hard to find. Helicopters flew over our heads day and night looking for looters. They were shot if found and many home owners sat by their homes with a shot gun.



How would you feel if you lost all you had ever worked for in twenty minutes?

This tornado killed 53 people and dozens were injured and had to be in the hospitals. Landmarks were gone and it looked like a bomb had gone off everywhere you looked. The elderly couple that lived across the street died because they got into a car and tried to out run it.

I can not tell you how many trucks and cars I saw that were rolled up into metal balls-they did not even look like a car. Large trucks were upside down.


It took 5 years to recover. My father became a home builder and our government loaned my family money to rebuild at 3 per cent interest.


How wonderful is that? I am so happy to live in America as we do care for our own.


After all of this-my parents did better than before the tornado.


Their home was new. Dad was the one who had the tornado sirens placed in Wichita Falls before this happened so I wonder how many lives were saved because of his good thinking and caring for others-even strangers.


If a tornado is coming-try to go to a storm cellar. Find something to cover your head. Read about how to save your life and stay out of a car. Go to the inner walls in your home, and pray.








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