Tornados and Locked Doors

by Samie Craddock -
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In 1978 Larry was supervising a contract telephone cable splicing job in Forest City, Iowa. He called Dean, his nephew, Ada’s oldest son, to have him come and work on the job with him. When we first moved to Forest City, Larry and I rented a big old house with a basement. Dean and Barbara stayed with us for a day or two until they found a place of their own, a mobile home in a park on the outskirts of town. We only lived in the house for a month and then rented a mobile home in the same park right down the street from Dean and Barbara.

One day not long after we moved from the big house we heard on the news that a tornado was headed straight for Forrest City, Iowa. The guys; Larry, Dean, Joe Bob and Steve were all out at a man-hole trying to keep it pumped while they wrapped an open splice to keep it from getting wet.

Barbara and I got the kids rounded up Erik, Stephanie, Craig and Christy and took off to town to try to find the guys and shelter. It was pouring down rain. Just as we found the guys, the tornado siren went off. They didn’t know where the shelter was and wouldn’t leave the man-hole. Larry just told us go to the house where we had lived and maybe the back door would be unlocked or I may have thought that I still had the key to the back door. Anyway we were new to town and didn’t know anywhere else to go.

Barbara and I were scared to death. We were at the back door with the siren going off, lightning crashing, thunder booming and rain pouring down. First I tried to break the door in but I couldn’t do it. I kept kicking and pushing on the door but couldn’t get it opened. You should remember that Barbara was a little bitty skinny thing. We were standing there looking at each other scared to death drenching wet, little kids at our feet crying when BOOM! lightning crashed and very loud thunder. Barbara gave me this crazy look and hit the door with her whole body and the door just fell in with her on top; knocked completely off the hinges. I picked her up off the floor and we all ran down in the basement. We started laughing so hard that we couldn’t quit. It was the funniest thing especially the look on her face when the lightning struck. Ha ha … Unforgettable!