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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Finally did it..

Today I went to my mom's, and we drove around to see all the reckage. I didn't have my camera with me, but honestly I'm glad I didn't. I was able to just take it all in. Even Grace was in the back seat and she just seemed mesmirized. The pictures that I have seen don't even show 10% of how bad it is.. they really don't. Everyone is taking pictures of the businesses, and don't get me wrong, the businesses do look bad, but there are places 100 times worse then that. At least with the businesses most of the stuff was left standing.. If you go down Ooltewah-Ringgold Road (which is just one street away from my mom's) almost everything is flat. Trees have been ripped to shreds.. it literally looks like someone took the world's largest lawn mower and went over all the trees, then took the tops that were cut off and fed them through the world's largest woodchipper. There is twisted metal everywhere, that I can only assume is parts of people's roofs. Most of the houses were just piles of rubble, and for the houses that were left standing, every single one of them had huge tarps on them. I was told that meant they either had huge holes in their roofs or no roofs at all.
I think the most amazing thing I saw though was that the tornado continued on past all of these homes, and went straight up the mountain. The path it took was completely cleared out. There was green trees all around it, and then a straight path of bare trees up and over the mountain.
Then if you go back towards the high school and middle school the destruction is horrible there too. Everyone takes pictures of the middle school and high school, but the neighborhoods around the schools got it ten times worse then the school. The houses around the schools have been there for a long time, and a lot of them were not in great shape. As we drove down through there you could see the X's painted on the sides of the houses.. I hated seeing those because I know what they are.. On one side of the X they will write how many people they found in the house, and on the bottom of the X they will write how many of those people were alive. Then beside the X they either write "Total loss" or "Is okay to repair." If it is any indication of how bad the damage there is, there was only one house that said "is okay to repair." Every other house down through there said "total loss." I cannot imagine having to come back to my home, and see "total loss" written in bright orange spray paint. That's like rubbing salt on an open wound. Luckily I didn't see anything but 0's on the bottoms of the X's, which means that no one died in any of the houses we drove past. However, at the florist shop it said they found 5 people in there. Thank goodness none of them lost their lives!
Driving through there made me realize how fortunate I truly am. I didn't lose anyone I love, I didn't lose my home or car, I didn't lose my work or my school. The only way we were effected by this is that we lost some food, which we have already replaced. Driving through there also made me realize how close I came to losing my mom, brother, and sister. The tornado was just a street over from them, and then it went over the mountain right behind them. My mom also said that if the tornado would have hit her house they probably would have died because she wouldn't have gotten my brother and sister down there in time. My brother has a bad hip as I have mentioned before, and she said it took awhile to get him to the basement when the sirens started going off, and my sister was still upstairs asleep. She was doing everything she could.. that must have been a horrible feeling knowing that there was nothing more she could do besides like throw my brother down the stairs, which she would never do. I am so thankful that the tornado did not hit her house!! Life would never be the same without them.


  1. It is so sad. It hurts my heart whenever i read this stuff. I am so happy that your family was okay. God was watching over them.

    what are the kids doing for school now?

  2. They built Heritage middle school about 5 years ago Heritage high school about 3 years ago. Ringgold high and middle school students are now going to be taking evening classes there. It's going to be just like a regular school day except they are going to be going after the normal Heritage students get out. They are going to have the same teachers and everything. They start back the 9th.

  3. Oh ya. The school board webiste says they are doing half days. Heritage is going 7:45 to lik 11:50 and Ringgold is going like 12:00 to 3:30 or something like that.

    Ya. We saw those Xs the other day. I didn't know what they were until Jessie told me. That is when it really hit me. :( I cried because at that point they weren't just torn down houses. They were someone's houses and someones lives.

    We are so blessed we didn't lose anything, except Internet for a few days. I am not sure what I would have done if I had lost Jessie. Samantha can't grow up with out a Dad. That would devastate me.

  4. Half days? i didn't know that. I thought it was night classes. How are they going to finish out the semester with half days?

    Chris and I had watched this show a couple of weeks ago, and they had those X's in them, and the girl in the show was asking what they were, and a guy explained it to her.. I didn't even know it was a real thing until I saw them in pictures of Ringgold and then in real life yesterday.
    It's really kind of bugging me because there are a few people on my facebook who will not shut up about their "tornado experiences." On girl especially because you can tell from her pictures that all that happened to her house was a couple of downed trees that didn't hit her house, and a messed up fence. Plus I know where she lives, and the tornado was going in the opposite direction of her, yet her signature everytime she posts something is -tornado survivor-. It's like she cashing in on the whole thing to get attention when there are so many people out there who have lost everything, including people they love.. Yea, I had a scary experience, but I am not going to post about it every five minutes on facebook to make people feel bad for me you know?
    And I am in no way talking about you worrying about Jessie.. I completely understand that, and you aren't trying to use that to get people's sympathy. I just needed to rant about that other girl lol.

    Have you seen Chelsea Black's facebook? She didn't have it private, so I was reading through some of it. I went down to her posts when she was still alive, and read from there. There were several people commenting asking where she was and if she was okay. One girl even said something like "Chelsea Black you better not be dead!!! D:" The last person asked her if she was okay at like 11:27, then at like 11:53 someone said something about how they loved her and RIP. It was so sad to read all of that...