By Sheila Squillante

June 27, 2016


When I was a little girl, younger than you are now, I shared a bedroom with Aunt Catherine, who was still a baby. Grandpa was gone on business and Grandma took us to the Gardner's house. They had a little boy who was my age, so we played in the driveway next to their garage. It started to rain and we heard on the radio there could be tornadoes, so we went home. It was raining very hard and our lights went out. I don’t like that. I know you don’t. I stood in front of my bedroom window watching the sky turn a pretty dark purple. I couldn’t hear birds anymore, but I could hear, far away but coming closer, the sound of a train. Was that the tornado? Yes. And then Grandma yelled at me to get away from the window. She scooped Aunt Catherine out of her crib. We didn’t have a basement, so we had to stay in the hallway until the storm passed. It was the safest place. Did Grandpa know? Yes, Grandma talked to him on the phone, stretching the long white cord from the kitchen wall all the way down to the hallway. What did she say? I don’t remember. Was he worried? Yes. I’m sure he was, yes. Did the tornado come? No, it missed us, but hit the towns all around. Did the tornado come? Yes, and Grandma laid her body on top of us as the house shook and shook.


Photo "Angry Sky" by Chris Butterworth, via Flickr's Creative Commons license.

Comments (7) - Post a Comment
A very dear story.
Jan Priddy at 8:58am EDT - June 27, 2016
Really touching interspersion of the present day dialogue with your daughter... moving.
Thank you.
Andrea at 3:00pm EDT - June 27, 2016
So true and loving,
Andrea Fisk Rottermam at 3:24pm EDT - June 27, 2016
Beautifully evoked and suspended moment. Thank so!
katherine soniat at 7:13pm EDT - June 27, 2016
Loved the way this story was told!
Joanne at 6:35pm EDT - June 28, 2016
I adore the form this takes. The two voices. It lands just right.
Holly Spaulding at 11:46am EDT - July 7, 2016
What an amazingly insight short account. I experienced it with you even as I was reading it. I've been right there. That's the main reason I work at keeping families safe behind tornado enhanced windows. Thanks for taking me back to my place in time!
Howard at 9:43pm EDT - July 8, 2016

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