This is devastating.

Aerial view of the devastation in Moore, OK. (Photo: KFOR)

Aerial view of Moore, OK after an F4 tornado passed through the town yesterday afternoon. (Photo: KFOR)

When I was in second grade, a tornado passed directly over my elementary school. Growing up in Dallas, our school had tornado drills at least once a month in the spring, so we all knew what to do when the warning came. Within minutes, my classmates and I were huddled in the hall, heads tucked into the crack between the smooth cold concrete floor and the brick wall of the reinforced hallway, fingers laced over the back of our heads, braced for impact.

I don’t know how long we stayed there. In my memory the moment consumes the entire day, although in truth it must have been only a few short minutes. Just long enough for the other classes to file in along the wall behind us, and for the litany of fear from the little girl huddled next to me to burn itself into my brain.

I still dream about her. About Toni, who spent the entire time crying inconsolably, not for us, but for her mother, who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and who was hospitalized somewhere out there in the path of the storm.

I thought about Toni yesterday as I watched the coverage from Oklahoma. Sent up a prayer for her along with all my other prayers for the folks in the path of yesterday’s monster storms.

I always hated spring in Texas.

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous Musings, Nature and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oklahoma

  1. Sheila says:

    I remember that day as well. I think that we waited for several hours, although we may have had you all just sit in the hallways after a while. Mostly I remember the relief when it we got the all clear.


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