Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Stormy Weather

The stormy weather we’ve been having in Okieland isn’t the same as Lena’s song, but it’s disturbing just the same.

Tornados have swept away parts of Moore and we’ve had tornado warning several days in a row. No! Fun! I even went to the cellar my folks had dug when I was a kid. (I usually plan to go under my stairs in case one hits.)

I don’t remember that kind of storm before we moved to C-Town when I was little. I have a slight memory of coming out of a basement once, but barely. I remember really well when Dad had some of the guys who worked on the cable tool rig dig the C-Town cellar.  By hand!

I watched the progress closely (of course.) I’d look down into that hole and thought it was huge! When it was finally finished and concreted, I even went down and tap danced a few steps. (The echo was great!)

Almost immediately, it started leaking water (our part of Okieland has a high water table) so from then on, there about a foot of water standing there. The fact that Dad didn’t get around to putting a door on it (until years and years later) didn’t help any. LOL. We had a great time “walking the tight rope” along the edge of that opening.

Once Granddad caught some catfish and put them down in the cellar. I had visions of nests of snakes living there, and even a few nightmares that centered around it.

Finally though, Sister Debbie moved into Grandmother’s house and decided it was time to make the cellar usable. She had the open window closed up, added a vent and a sump pump. Now the cellar is clean with no critters (except a few spiders) and Deb always makes sure there are plenty of snacks and games to entertain the kiddies who go down.

969748_666217840062234_602725260_n     Pretending we’re monkeys.

The weird thing about that cellar is, I think all the water over the years caused it to shrink! I didn’t know cement could shrink like that, but it’s not nearly as big as it was back in the beginning.

Where do you go during a tornado? Bathtub? Cellar? Or are you like so many of the men I know who go out to the porch and watch?

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Under the Stairs Hidy Hole

It’s Tornado Season in Okieland.

And you thought there were only four seasons–Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring–in the year, didn’t you? Actually, Tornado Season is sort of synonymous with Spring. Except when it’s not. 🙂

Some years we have only a close call or two.

Some years, it feels as if we’re dancing with tornadoes. 😦

The spring after Middle Son was born, we had twisters about every-other-night, all spring long. (At least it seemed like e-o-n!) We lived in a two story house with all the bedrooms upstairs and big windows on both sides of the stairway. Not the best choice on our part, but who thinks about nighttime tornadoes when choosing a house plan?

Our house was just about a mile outside of C-Town. Most of the time I could hear the tornado siren if I was awake (do towns in states outside the middle of the nation have those?) but just in case I missed it, I made a deal with one of my sisters to call me when the sirens blew.

We didn’t have a ‘fraidy hole. But because of the way our staircase was built–very, very sturdy–under it was even better than the inside room the big boys recommend you to hide in. G-Man worked twenty-four hour call at that time. Often, he was gone on a job when storms hit.

#1 son was five then, so he had a pretty good time under the stairs. (Actually, we waited in the small hallway next to the door that went UTS.) If the baby was sleeping, he had all of our attention and we would color or play games with him.

We had a small wooden cradle that I kept downstairs for Matt to snooze in next to the stairs.

We never had an actual hit from a tornado while we lived in that house. In my life, I remember very few times when a tornado got very close to us. There’s an old wives’ tale that because of the way our town is situated in the bend of the river and beneath South Hill, we’ll never be hit. While I don’t trust old wives’ tales, so far it’s proven true.

Of course, I don’t live in the city limits of C-Town now, so I keep a weather eye. (The house I live in was destroyed in 1991 by a twister.)

Funny how those frightening experiences turn into fond memories, isn’t it?