Friday, June 3, 2011

Destruction in the Heartland....part 6...Friday June 3rd....Did this REALLY happen?

Everything isn't happy and rosy and perfect 100% of the time in blogland people.

I am going to write a few more posts about the Joplin Tornado....if you don't want to read, I completely understand. It is depressing. This Little Blog of Mine will return to school stories and posts about pretty things soon...but for now, I just need to write.

I just keep thinking about all the places in town that got blown away. Literally. There is nothing left. I've been in denial--like a lot of people--but the REAL is finally setting in....

This really happened.

Our town REALLY got destroyed by a massive tornado.


Joplin was on CNN. I saw Anderson Cooper in front of St. Mary's. THE PRESIDENT GAVE A SPEECH AT MY UNIVERSITY!


Many of the places on this list hold many fond memories for me.... I wanted to compile them here to reminisce....

Pizza by Stout-- When I was in college, my Art League group met there every single week--either on the patio or in the glass room on the front to talk about art.

When I graduated from college, my entire family went there for lunch.

When my dad turned 50, we gathered everyone into the party room, got a KC Chiefs cake and celebrated together.

Cupcakes by Liz--This was a new business, but it was one of my favorite places in town. It was perfect for a girls night out--the cupcakes were delicious, the atmosphere was delightful and I would recommend it to everyone for a perfect date night MUST.

Frank's Lounge and Murphy's Irish Pub--Practically the only places in town to do Karaoke. Both gone. I've had many fun nights with friends, singing and celebrating various graduations, birthdays and St. Patrick's days.

Macadoodles, Academy, Aldis, Dillons---When you lose your neighborhood grocery store, favorite liquor store (with discounted fuel once a week), and sporting goods store in one shot---its hard to figure out where you will buy things that you are used to having access to. I visited all of these businesses nearly every week. Gone.

Salvation Army, Good Will---I love to go thrift shopping for clothing, random household collectibles and vintage sheets. Good Will is badly damaged and the Salvation Army moved to its new location just a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't even had a chance to visit yet! I doubt they will remodel renovated grocery store---it will probably just be torn down now.

St. John's Hospital-- I think my doctor's office is still in tact, as it was located in a separate location....but the skeleton building that remains is just depressing and haunting to drive past. My insurance is through St. John's and my mom always stays there when she is sick or needs to have a surgery.

Elec Tric Art--A local tattoo friend Dennis has tattooed many of my friends and family at that it is gone.

Jo-Ann's Fabric, Home Depot, Wal-Mart-- Wal-Mart?!?! I do not even know what to say....these are staples in my life--buying everything from lumber to sewing machine grease---at these now-gone locations.

iHOP, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Chick Fil-A, Arby's, KFC, Cherry Berry-- These are just a few of the fast food places that were damaged or destroyed. (Luckily Orange Leaf is okay---we got two new frozen yogurt places in the last month--after never having any FROYO in Joplin before. I was seriously OVERJOYED when I found out that Orange Leaf made it through the storm!

Cunningham Park, Par Hill Park, Huge parkway near Murphy BLVD--These parks used to have playground equipment, huge green trees, and they were beautiful places to spend an afternoon on a quilt, in the shade. Now they are just barren eyesores.

Most of these places will probably rebuild...but some of them will not. Joplin is such a different place to live now.

It looks different.

It feels different.

The people look different.

It is different.

The scariest part for me isn't that the businesses below are gone...its that we are not safe in our own homes. 

I've never been afraid of storms before...and many people here never took tornado warnings seriously, we have so many 'watches' and 'warnings' when spring storms roll through...we all take those things for granted.

People in Joplin have experienced loss...and devastation....and fear....

Many people were injured...many people know someone that died in the tornado...everyone knows someone that lost their home....

Friends at work ask me about my family and home....and when I tell them that my mom lost her home, I get a variety of responses depending on how far removed they are from what happened. Some are completely sympathetic...some are bracing for the worst...and some are just asking to be nice....

The co-workers that live in Joplin, or who have volunteered cleaning up debris, or the co-workers that are sharing their home with a family that is displaced...those co-workers get it....this storm 'happened' to them too....but unless you've driven through the devastation, or lost your neighborhood, or neighbor, or neighborhood grocery store, it is hard to grasp how difficult this tragedy is.

So, readers....I am very grateful to have my house....Joplin is my home and I am very proud of the city for how it managed to crisis and I am still dealing with how REAL everything is.

P.S. I think I have a home for my a nearby is very similar to where she was living before the tornado took her home. If all goes well, she can move in next Friday.


Kate said...

You're right...unless you've been there, you have no idea what it's like. You're not just getting out your thought and memories for later, you're also giving the rest of us a tiny glimpse of what your town is going through. And while the St. Louis area has been spared the kind of damage and loss of life that other parts of the state and country have experienced, our family certainly has a new fear of tornado season and are now taking to the basement during warnings rather than staying blasé. Too much, too close to take any chances.

Lauri said...

You don't have to apologize for writing about this awful time and how it is impacting your life. I have actually checked your blog several times for updates, it is more interesting than depressing. I cannot imagine for a minute what you must be going through, but glad to hear that you are optimistic like a lot of people in your city. Take care.

Lindsey Lea B said...

Awh, let it all out! I don't know when or how things will look normal or be even close for you and your family, but I hope you find peace and a strength through such a hard time. You are in my prayers.