Responses to the first story, The Lord of Toads, are rolling in, many of them from people who lived through the tornado. Here’s a great email from Sarah:
My mother’s tornado story. We lived near Baylor where both my parents taught. She had no word on what was happening, but got down with me and my baby sister on the floor of the central dining room to color when it got so dark. Then the lights went out – so no more coloring. Humpf. When the storm was all over, she drove to Baylor’s Carroll Science to pick up my dad as usual. We saw nothing unusual on our short route. When we got back, a neighbor lady who had been listening to the radio called out, “Is the Union still standing?” referring to the Student Union Building. Unaware and confused, Mother answered (as if to Daniel Webster’s grave), “She stands as she stood, rock bottom and copper sheathed.” Now there were two confused women.
A few days later my father did a big favor for a doctor whose office was in the block with the Dennis building. The doctor had had an expensive radium needle. Daddy took his Geiger counter and found it in that pile of rubble. Talk about your needle in a haystack!
I well remember that day. We lived on S 20th. Our house took a bad hit… took the entire roof & ceilings plus all windows broken. Very scary when you are 6 years old.
Thanks for this. My dad had his factory downtown, across from the Chevy dealership, so near where some of the worst damage hit the city. His Mercury was hit by a large downed tree, whose branches knocked a hole in the roof, from which I played tank commander for a few days until repairs could be made…
This bit of information from Adonna:
One of the reasons the ALICO building stood is that the foundation is cotton bales, and I remember daddy taking us downtown over a week later and the building was still swaying, but those bales kept it from breaking.
What a marvelous introductory chapter to Sleeper Ave. I love the drama, art, narrator, Waco history and the clever way it is all constructed. I can’t wait for Part II.
I miss the horny toad.