Life...Fun and Kentucky Real Estate


Tornados Can Wipe You Out and Change Your Life In A Good Way

Tornados Can Wipe You Out and Change Your Life In A Good Way

Stone church in Lexington KY picture by Lizette Fitzpatrick

We all have moments in our lives that define who we are.

I read somewhere events that happen before you turn age 18 impact how you deal with your life in the future.

This includes child abuse, divorce of parents, death of a family member, moving, bullying, good or bad teachers, accidents, etc.

All these freaky things roll together and form who you are and how you live.

Thirty five years ago, on April 4, 1974 was the night of the tornados in Madison County, Kentucky. I was a senior in high school and my brother was in the Navy so I was thrilled that he had left me his car, a red Ford Pinto that I drove everywhere.  

I remember the evening being fairly warm but windy. As I was traveling back home from Berea I thought the sky to the West was beautiful...sort of pink as the lightning would brighten the black sky.

I had been visiting my boyfriend's mother in the hospital and was only a few miles south of exit 90 on I-75. We lived on the White Hall exit on a 33 acre farm that had a beautiful newly restored 2 story historic home with plaster walls, 6 fireplaces and 2 staircases.

Nestled back a few acres in maple trees you could hardly see it from the road. The farm had a creek, woods and 2 barns.  My Dad had built a Texaco service station on the road frontage across from White Hall Elementary School.

There were a few houses down the road but mostly it was farmland where I rode my horse everyday. I managed my own stable where I taught riding lessons and rented stalls. The money I earned paid for clothes, supplies for my horses and gas for the car.

I must have arrived about 20 minutes after the tornado had hit.

As I came across the bridge what I noticed first was that the stately trees lining the road were all chopped off and grotesque.

Inching closer behind cars I finally drove up to the service station and pulled over. It looked like a war zone! There were no lights and I could barely see power lines on the ground sparking.

State Police and were everywhere keeping cars moving away from the area. They were trying to keep me out too! I jumped over the power lines running toward the station. Someone was out there with a flashlight was coming toward me. I was so glad to see it was my Dad. In that moment we stood there I looked back behind the station where the house should be.

Pitch black darkness...a lightning strike lit the sky...finally I could see the hill where the house should be and only a few broken trees remained!

Where was the house??  

Dad told me that Mom and my little brother (Mark) had been in the house when it hit. He had called her as she sitting upstairs at the window watching the black clouds. He warned her that tornado was heading to the house and to run for the basement.

She had grabbed my brother and raced toward the basement. As she closed the door the wind took the house right off the foundation and piled the whole thing in the neighbor's field next door. He had sought cover under a heavy table in his office as it took the roof off the building.

Shaking and then looking around he peered out the back door and saw the house was gone. I'm sure he ran up to where the house had been in a second flat! There under bricks and sheet metal from the furnace lay Mom and Mark. Still alive but scratched and beat up. He got them out and helped them toward the station.

Someone who stopped to help took them to the hospital but he stayed to keep looters out of the station. He was worried but was doing the best he could in a crazy situation. He wanted me to go find them and see that they were OK.  

There were so many cars in the road that I had to drive out US25 all the way to Boonesboro exit on I-75 to get to the hospital back in town. Once there I found Mom all scratched up, no glasses or shoes and Mark was sitting next to her with his arm in a sling. They looked pitiful and sad.

Mom didn't remember anything after she had closed the basement door and was on the 2nd step.

I put them in my car and took them to my boyfriend's house where we stayed for a few days so our lives could be sorted out. Dad stayed at the gas station to protect it.

All I had left were the clothes on my back and my car. My senior year was in shambles right before prom. No clothes, shoes, cherished childhood mementos, furniture, my horses were missing, no barns and since I was a kid (no insurance).

What I can figure out now is that it taught me that I can start over at any time. It's easy to let things go that don't work.

I've wiped out at least 4 times in my life all for different reasons. Each time I start over I end up with more. Like a new and improved, stronger version of Lizette. 

Tonight, we have many storms in our area and I've headed for the basement to be safe.

Chanel busy with her bone. Picture by Lizette Fitzpatrick As I snuggle up with my little dog, Chanel, I feel comfort in all I have accomplished and amazingly I have no fear about a tornado now.

Starting over is part of life and makes you strong. Life is good!



Lizette Realty Lizette Fitzpatrick

Lizette FitzpatrickPrincipal Broker at Lizette Realty.

#1 featured Kentucky Realtor on and

Publisher/Author for the only Central Kentucky email newsletter on local real estate listings and sold properties, Kentucky relocation, local events, homeowner information and fun!

For more information on Lizette, Kentucky Horse Farms, Lizette Realty, Madison County, Fayette County, Richmond or Lexington KY real estate 

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See for yourself what Lizette's extraordinary clients have to say about their Kentucky Real Estate experience. Copyright © 2009 By Lizette Fitzpatrick, All Rights Reserved*Tornados Can Wipe You Out and Change Your Life In A Good Way*

Comment balloon 6 commentsLizette Fitzpatrick • April 05 2009 09:11PM


I have never seen or lived through this type of event - it amazes me how strong tragic events can make people... thank you for sharing and I hope you and that perfect little dust mop are doing well tonight and the sun brings you a great day tomorrow

Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) over 10 years ago

Thesa - Thanks for checking on us. It's always disrupting when we have to pack important things with us downstairs to wait it out. After being in the 70's yesterday it is 39 right now and we might see a bit of snow tomorrow! Kentucky has weird weather at times.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 10 years ago

What we  learn from our experiences makes us a better person.  I think you've made it!

Posted by Connie Lou Barnett, GRI,CRS,CRB,SRMM,ARA,PRS,SFR,QSC (Real Living/Home Realty) over 10 years ago

Connie - I wish sometimes that only good things happen!

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 10 years ago

You are no doubt a survivor and have re-invented yourself many times over.   You are my hero,  no kidding.    You have been a good influence for me.     And hug that Baby!

Posted by Connie King over 10 years ago

Yessss...Life is so good.  I agree with you.  Thinking back, so many things have come into play with my life, the changes were good.  Even when I thought the sky was going to come down on me I have always landed upright and ready to go again.  Very good post here as usual....

Posted by Bob Sloop, Consultant, Indianapolis, IN (RS Mortgage Consulting) over 10 years ago

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