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Author Topic:   Childhood Memories
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Message 13 of 75 (399851)
05-08-2007 12:51 PM

The tornado
There's one particular memory that's been coming back to me with this recent rash of tornados. When I was 6 years old an F5 tornado struck the Candlestick Park Shopping Center on Cooper Road in Jackson. My mother was having her hair done in the beauty parlor at that shopping center when it hit, and one of my sisters and I were with her. I remember Mama giving my sister and me some money to go get a snack at the drug store. On the way back I noticed that the clouds were extremely dark and were moving much faster than I had ever seen. As I was telling Mama about the clouds, a woman who I think was in the back of the store let out a blood-curdling scream, and the next thing I knew some man grabbed my sister and me and threw us under a counter. That man was killed.
My sister and I came through relatively well. Something big and heavy hit me (the doctor said it was probably a brick) and might have knocked me out briefly. My mother fared much worse. There was an open wound on her head and she was bleeding profusely. She wasn't among the worst injured, though, because we weren't the first to be carried away. Before long a man in a pickup took us and quite a few other people to the hospital. He put my sister, me and a couple other kids in the front and the adults in the back. I was traumatized for years by the image of my mother in the back of that truck, in the pouring rain, with a white towel that was quickly turning red wrapped around her head.
In the end we were all okay, but that was the scariest experience of my life. I still have dreams about it once in a long while. I used to have a regular nightmare. I'd be at a cinema when a thunderstorm begins. At some point during the picture the thunder gets so loud that I get up to go see what's happening outside. When I look out the front door I see a tornado coming straight at the cinema. I quickly decide to jump over the concession counter and crawl under it, but suddenly the counter is so high that I can barely reach the top. As I'm trying and trying to pull myself up onto that counter, I wake up.
The fact that the concession counter suddenly grows several feet taller puzzled me for a long time. Then one day it occurred to me that, at age 6, ALL concession counters were probably too tall for me to see over. That was about a decade ago and I haven't had that nightmare since.


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