I'm a person who has premonition. Looking back on what was a beautiful afternoon, I found myself outdoors hanging the wet towel and bathing suit that my grandson wore to the pool prior that day which I washed in the sink. Recalling, that around three o'clock it would be too late to swim in the pool, besides the fact that dinner was to be had shortly. Normally, daddy or mommy would be picking up the kids after a long day's work. By four, Ryan was awake from his nap, and was starving, so he was fed early.
It was odd that I found my missing radio just last week, the one that runs on batteries. Yesterday I placed it on the bureau, thinking, nice to have around in the event of an emergency. Today, in speaking with my sister-in-law Jayne, I recall telling her, that for some reason, around one, while my grandson and I were having our lunch, we talked about being prepared, just in case we had to go down to the cellar. I told him that I ask Jesus to help, calling on His name. Unknowningly, this was hours before the storm.
I didn't have the television on so I didn't know about the "weather" until Fr. Peter called saying that our church service that evening may have to be cancelled due to severe thunderstorms and nasty conditions ahead.
Pre-warnings by family, got us into a state of preparedness. The radio, flashlights, phones, water, meds., food, bottles, and babies diapers, etc. So much to think about in a very short time. We are always somewhat prepared but not for tornado's. This was the real deal, it had struck Springfield, and was on it's way...here!
We decided on where we would be and told others where by phone, just in case, with our cell phones and protection. We lost power, but it came back on. The battery operated radio, told us it hit Brimfield, possibly fifteen minutes or so, away. The next report came that home in Southbridge had been flattened, as well as the airport, and was going in the direction of
Rte 20, and Rte131. John was coming home in the direction of the tornado. He saw the darkness and took shelter at a CVS in Charlton. Angie called from Auburn, not sure of how to come home, as Sturbridge toll booths were taken out, also coming in the direction of the tornado. As she called Bill for instructions as to get home, John was heading toward Worcester Street, having left his shelter, with the first tornado having come through. What he didn't know was that Worcester Street was closed with a second tornado coming, he was headed to Sturbridge, straight into it.
He took shelter once again, this time, at the Host in Sturbridge. It is still unknown how many tornado's actually hit Sturbridge. He came back to Southbridge using the same back road as Angie and Bill, Mashpaug Road. Travel was dangerous due to fallen wires and trees, some were not passable, other's closed.
Bill and Angie are safe, in the tornado hit area, which surrounded them in Sturbridge, and did too much damage to tell about. Especially the airport which abutts them, in Southbridge. He and the grand kids made it home, just before the second tornado came through.
Meanwhile, John, Jayne and Matt, saw the swirling debris from their back door in Charlton, which was the tornado's next destination, after much destruction on the Worcester Street area Or, 131 route of Southbridge. It hit at the end of their road at the intersection.
What happened? When I took preparedness courses, we were always told, don't worry, we never have tornadoes in Southbridge. Bill saw it pass as he was on Main Street, a sight that the weather enthusiast will not forget.
remember the old adage....NEVER SAY NEVER.
Today, although shaken, and very sad over the loss of lives and for those who must contend with the aftermath, I am very thankful for the early warning as "God was with us."
And, I felt His hand in every conversation and action. Our family was saved by our prayers and we are certain of that in each story that I mentioned above.
Looking back, our technology has helped us to safely come out of the storm, as much as possible. Computer readouts showed us where it was coming from, and when. Telephone cell calls enabled us to keep in touch with commuters and family members. And thanks to our dedicated emergency personnel we made our way through the darkness.
Jayne said that she found a piece of someone's shingle in her yard along with a dunk and donut coffee cup.
This is a story I thought I would never have to write...Like the '55 flood, we will pull through, neighbor helping neighbor, and with the faith that is instilled within us, "we know we are never alone."
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