In my previous blog I wrote about our choice to have my parents purchase a mobile home instead of having a large wedding. After a short search we found a small 2 bedroom “fixer upper”. We had been saving pennies and would spend evenings rolling them so we could keep up with how much money we had. When we had $300 in pennies we purchased enough new carpet to re-carpet the living room and bought a used couch for $50. We did some painting, cleaning and fixing up and had ourselves a cute little first home. I wish I had taken pictures of the before and after of our remodel.
Being married only about 6 weeks, the last weekend of August 1979 we moved our home to The Brook (a mobile home park) in Ada, Oklahoma and started East Central University that Monday. We were having telephones installed in our house on Friday, August 31st after living for a week without being able to contact anyone from home. It was starting to look like it could possibly rain so the telephone installer was trying to hurry and finish before the storm came. As soon as the phone guy left we jumped in our car headed back to Antlers/Rattan to see family for the weekend. The next morning (September 1) the mobile home park called my dad to say a tornado had come through the park during the night and destroyed our home. The tornado had skipped through the park and destroyed about 6-7 homes. Being married only about 2 months we lost our home along with most of our personal and household items, but were thankful we weren’t home when it happened. We were safe!!!
With reservations we purchased another home and moved it to the other side of the 150 mobile home park. Dad said, “Most people go their whole life and never have a home destroyed by a tornado, then he says he had never heard of someone having 2 homes hit by a tornado. Well lets just say… we fall in the rare category. In March 1981 we had a second tornado come through the park, this time it was a much larger tornado taking 120 of the 150 homes. There was 1 person killed in this tornado. Again, thankfully we were not home. This time because it was a larger tornado and many more homes were taken the American Red Cross came in and helped those affected by the tornado. The gave us money to purchase a small dining table, a chest of drawers and also gave us a small clothing allowance. After two tornadoes we decided not to press our luck and we moved into the married student housing on the ECU campus.
The pictures are from the 1979 tornado.
If you notice in one of the pictures there is the tie down that you use to hold the mobile homes to the ground, it is pulled completely out of the ground. Beside it is a pair of sunglasses that are sitting across a 2 x 4. The earpiece is going through the flooring.
There is also a picture of an owl that proudly sits in our living room today. He was found in the middle of the road sitting on top of our TV as if someone had placed him there with only a small nick out of his ear after the 1979 tornado. The owl also made it through the second tornado with a few more scratches as you can see in the picture. This makes me believe that owls must have at least 3 lives.
Needless to say we pay attention to the weather when the “T” word is used.