Life...Fun and Kentucky Real Estate


Tornados Have A Silver Lining

Tornados Have A Silver Lining

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

Kentucky TornadoI 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.

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 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. The State Police 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 Mom closed the door... the wind took the house right off the foundation and piled the whole thing in the neighbor's field next door. Dad had sought cover under a heavy table in his office as it took the roof off the Texaco 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 that had parked to wait out the storm took them to the hospital but Dad 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.

She 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 station to protect it.

All I had left were the clothes on my back and my car. I had to be strong for all of them.

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. Last night, we had many storms in our area and I headed for the basement to be safe. As I curled up with my little dog I felt comfort in all I had accomplished and amazingly I have no fear about a tornado.

Starting over is part of life and makes you strong. Life is good! Cherish what you have right now...don't worry about the rest.  

Comment balloon 9 commentsLizette Fitzpatrick • April 25 2010 08:17AM




Thanks for sharing this interesting information. It's posts like this that make active rain great!

Posted by Jeremy K. Frost, Associate Broker, CNE, CRS, ePro, PSA (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Featured @ Club Chaos

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

"Starting over is part of life and makes you strong. Life is good! Cherish what you have right now...don't worry about the rest." I loved the post and love, love, love you. Lurking on your blog always makes my day. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

great post Lizette, it's absolutely true that we grow the most when we are at our lowest or most trying times. I'm a little tired of learning so much about myself however and am looking forward to better times!

Posted by Brian Kuhns, Fort Wayne Real Estate by Brian Kuhns (Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber) over 9 years ago

Lizette - What an incredible story and I'm glad to hear that everyone survived.  I've never heard "events that happen before you turn age 18 impact how you deal with your life in the future," but it makes absolute sense.  After the hurricanes we had years back it looked like a complete war zone, it was scary to think you could lose every thing in a second, including your life. 

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) over 9 years ago


A memory like that would last a lifetime. I remember Mt St Helens going off. We could feel it in the northwest most corner of WA. Woke us up in the AM

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Lizette, I am glad that I finished reading the post to make sure that it had a happy ending. I remember the 1999 F5 that came through Oklahoma City. The aftermath looked like Berlin after WWII. 

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTORĀ® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 9 years ago

You have told me this story before,  but it always brings me to tears.   I am just blessed to have such a strong friend.   You and Madonna are the queens of re-invention!

Posted by Connie King over 9 years ago

Thanks for sharing this story. It is a good reminder not to waste a moment. Life is good in Maryland.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 9 years ago

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