Week 27: July 5, 2014
Tornado’s in Greene Co., Georgia
I’ve heard many of my mother’s remembrances of the few tornado’s she lived through on the McKinley family farm in Siloam, Georgia. I often call my mother nightly and document her stories as we talk – here are her memories of a few tornado’s that came through.
“My father owned land down from our farm on the old White Plains back road; the area was known as the Fuller School House as the old school house sat on this corner lot. It was now lived in by my Uncle Villa and Aunt Mae McKinley. Uncle Villa was my father’s brother and had TB so when they needed a place to live, my father let them live on this 10 acre parcel he owned. While living there a tornado came through and picked the house up with Uncle Villa and Aunt Mae inside and sat it down, further back in the woods, on top of some tree stumps. He was sleeping in the bed when it was picked up and set ‘intact’ back down. A tree stump came right up through the floor I was told. They weren’t harmed but the house was no longer livable. They came to live at our house for a few months while my father and Aunt Lena built them a small house just up the road from our farm. This was some time in the 1940’s.”
“Another tornado I remember was while I was in school. It was very scary to me as I wasn’t home with mama and daddy; we were made to sit under our desks for protection. I couldn’t wait to go home that day. A dog showed up at our house after the tornado that afternoon – a small black and white dog with spots, so naturally I called him Spot. We never heard about anyone looking for him, so my father let him stay with us. Spot seemed to sense a storm anytime a cloud came up after that day and would hide in the house under my bed. He lived with us on the farm for a long time until he died.”
“When I was young I always got in the bed and pulled the covers up over my head when it stormed – and sat there really quiet! We used to have some bad storm clouds come up back then; they were loud and noisy storms, not like today.”
“After I moved back to the farm in the 70’s I remember coming home late one night from my job at Holiday Inn. There was a bad cloud that seemed to follow me all the way to the farm and after I finally got home, I remember trying to pull the mattress off the bed to get under. The tornado came close by and sounded like a freight train rolling in – and close enough to my house that it laid a pine tree across the front porch roof. As you heard the sound you could feel it sucking out the air in the house, pulling the dust down from the attic. I called my cousin Kenneth McKinley crying and told him I was dead! He laughed! He told me to stay put and he’d come over. He had to return to his place quickly to get a chain saw because there were numerous trees blocking the road to the farm and he couldn’t get through. I sure was happy to see him when he finally arrived.”
“The storms we have now are nothing like I remember when I was little. But even now I still like to just be quiet when it storms. I’ll turn everything off – no TV or lights on. I’ll just sit in the dark and be quiet, and I still sometimes even now pull the cover up over my head so I don’t have to see the lightning. If it’s stormy like a tornado warning, I’ll get in the hallway and shut myself in – until the storm is over.”
Funny how times haven’t changed with mama and storms!