Kathleen Klinger Goodwin : Tornado Oral History


Kathleen Klinger Goodwin : Tornado Oral History


Submitted: May 30, 2005
Kathleen Klinger Goodwin
Meridian, Mississippi

The night the massive tornados ripped through the area I was working at the Youngstown Reserve Base. The lights went out and I found a radio in the Club Manager's office. We heard about the tornados and one that touched down within a mile of the base. The bar was closed immediately (although non-alcoholic drinks were available).One of the patrons, Mary, worked with the Red Cross and immediately got folks together and formed teams to help victims. All these people who were "partying" without a care in the world came together to help wherever needed. The base community pulled together and forgot about themselves and volunteered several hours/days to help those in need.

A friend of my Mom's took me and my sister, Karin Klinger Goolsby, to her house (we picked up my sister on the way). Most of the phone lines were down along with most power lines so we kept listening to the radio to hear if any of our families and/or friends were hurt or killed. It was very scary not knowing if our Grandmothers, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins were still alive. It was a great relieve to know they were fine and they did not have any damage to their homes.

My class, Lakeview High School Class of 1985, was due to graduate in one week and we weren't sure if we would still be having commencement on the football field. We did graduate as scheduled, but I have to think that the mood was just a bit somber because of what happened a week earlier.

I remember riding around with my Mom, Dolly Klinger, and my sister. The damage was unbelievable. There were curtains hanging in trees and debris scattered everywhere. There would be half of a house standing and the house next to it would be untouched. In one area residents spray painted signs indicating "This Way to Oz" and "Dorothy Lives Here."

Niles Union Cemetary was very eeiry with all the trees destroyed. I can still picture the roof off the one building.

I still have newspapers from the days immediately following this disaster. The pictures, horrific as they are, don't begin to tell the story of the damage left by the tornados that night in May 1985.

This is one evening and one event I will never forget.

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