Tracy Straface-Moore : Tornado Oral History

Title

Tracy Straface-Moore : Tornado Oral History

Narrative

Submitted: August 10, 2006
Tracy Straface-Moore
Ohio

Memory - Wow...I have very vivid memories of the tornado of 1985, although it almost seems like a dream because those are not things that u hear of happening in this area very often. I was 17 years old and a senior at Howland High School preparing to graduate in a week. That day I was standing outside talking with a friend and all of a sudden it started pouring down rain and the hail was awful but very huge. My mom, dad, and brother were at my brother's baseball game on Howland hill (Mines School). Before my friend was there I had been taking a nap so I was not aware of any weather warnings or anything. We were standing in the garage watching it storm and commenting on the color of the sky and just could not believe all the hail and all of a sudden it was like someone turned of a faucet and the rain stopped just as quick as it started. The everything was so silent that you could here a pin drop....there were no birds singing, seemed like all the traffic on the road left, there was no breeze what so ever and everything had a green/yellow look to it and the sky was a grey/blue color....something i will never forget as long as I live. Next thing I knew we had no power and it was so hot that day and the humidity was high. My parents and brother had then came home from the baseball fields and informed me that there was a tornado that had gone through the area and the path that it took The news reports on the radio kept coming on and saying all the different places that the tornado had touched down and all the damages that were done. We then heard about the roller skating rink in Niles, Ohio that had been destroyed and just a few hours later there was suppose to be a huge skating party there and plan was for there to be alot of people there and my brother was suppose to be one of them. There was also a brand new nursing home that was right up the street from the skating rink, Autumn Hills Care Center that was due to open and get their first patients either that day or the day after...well of course that was postponed. Anyway the radio had also reported things that had been damaged around the Champion, Ohio area as well and the is where my boyfriend (now husband) had lived so I got on the phone and kept trying to reach him and was not very successful and of course went into a panic. The friend that had been at my house tried to leave and his car had broke down so my mother had to give him a ride home, he also lived in Champion....well of course I made my mother drive past my boyfriends house to make sure it was still standing. The next day my friend and I went and began to volunteer to help with some of the cleaning up in Newton Falls and Niles..at that time the devastation and all the sadness was just so over whelming.
A few days had gone by and we still had no power and a lot of other places did not either. Graduation day approaching and our ceremony was due to be at the Packard Music Hall in Warren, Ohio. The heat had been so stifling that they were debating on where to have our graduation because with our class being so large and all the people it would be entirely to hot in that building. A bunch of people were saying a prayer that the power would be restored so that our graduation could take place as planned. Now that I am older and looking back that all seemed like such a major thing and at that time never stopped to think about all the families that were having it worse off because their homes were destroyed and their belongings were strung to where ever. Graduation was such a big deal and at that age one does not really stop and think.
I also remember that my best friend was working at the Red Barn at the corner of Rt.46 and 422 and she told about the flying debris that she saw coming down the road as she was waiting on a customer and one of her coworkers that actually saw things flying toward them and he grabbed her and threw her to the ground.
My brother also had a story of his own. When he was at his baseball game and on the pitching mound he turned around to check his players and at that time looked into the sky and was able to see the funnel cloud off at a distance and he was not sure which direction it was coming at that point yelled "tornado."
Well there are tons more memories that I do have of that tornado but the only words that I can say is what a complete mess and such total devastation!!!!!!!

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