Tracy E. Taylor : Tornado Oral History


Tracy E. Taylor : Tornado Oral History


Submitted: May 30, 2005
Tracy E. Taylor
Cortland, Ohio

I was just 17 when the tornado hit Niles but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was getting ready to go skating that night when a friend of mine came over and told me that he was not allowed to go. So instead I decided to stay home and go swimming. I had just changed back into my swimsuit when the power went out. My friend and I heard people screaming outside and went to see what was going on. When I opened the front door, I could see the tornado coming up the road. We then ran to his house across the street because he had a basement and when we got to his front porch we turned to see the tornado. At that very moment, it was tearing through the Eastwood Arms Apartments. We stood and watched the twister until it was out of sight. I then grabbed my camera and headed down Rt-46 to the Union Cemetery and Convenient Store and took some pictures. It looked like something out of a war movie. Buildings were gone, cars tossed up into the cemetery like matchbox cars. I had overheard some people talking about the destruction at the top of the strip (RT-422) so I jumped on my bike and headed up to the skating rink. When I got there, the plaza was gone and the skating rink was gone.They were just leveled. I took a bunch of pictures and headed back home. When I got there I found my mother very upset. You see, she was at work when all this happened. And when one of her co-workers came back to work because she couldn't get past the top of the strip, my mother flipped out because the woman had told her that the skating rink was gone and the last thing my mother knew was that I was going skating that night. With the police not allowing cars up to the rink, she went home very upset and it didn't take too long for me to show up. When I did, I'll tell you, I've never seen her more relieved. Of course I got grounded for taking off and not telling anyone where I was, but she didn't make it stick. I think she was just happy I was unhurt. But it is a day I'll never forget and it is a story I share with my wife and kids today...

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