Readers remember storms, how they changed lives

Nov. 10, 2012 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Nov. 11, 2012 at 5:11 a.m.

Desiree Pegaler contributed this photo of a funnel cloud touched down in Sweet Home, one mile from the school.

Desiree Pegaler contributed this photo of a funnel cloud touched down in Sweet Home, one mile from the school.

We asked readers to submit storm stories and here are some we received.

The 1945 Storm

Storms were not given names at this time, so it was known as the 1945 Storm. It released its fury all night long and by morning we were able to go outside to view the damage. As we got beyond our trees, where in the past, we could see our church, with great horror we realized our church was no longer there. We were not sure of the safety of our pastor and his wife and three children. The parsonage was very close to the church.

My parents and we six children piled onto the pick-up and drove to the sight. The church, Ansgar Evangelical Lutheran Church of Danevang, was completely destroyed. It was determined that a tornado was the cause of the destruction. The pastor and his family were safe. A prayer of thanks was given for their safety. Other church members were already there and many more came. We began to pick up what could be salvaged, such as song books and some altar linens.

The memory of that moment when we realized our church was gone is still very vivid in my mind, 67 years later.

I was 14 years old when the storm hit, I am 81 years old now.

Irene Hansen Flagg

A walk into the storm

GOLIAD - The year was 1942, Aug. 28th or thereabout. That Saturday, I decided to spend the night at my grandma's house. As I was walking, I noticed the clouds were big and black. I knew we were in for a good rain but had no idea we were about to a visit from a big, uninvited, mean, destructive lady from the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricanes didn't have names in those days. The first named hurricane was Audrey in 1950; if my memory serves me right.

The only radar available in those days was on battleships. So, for the most part, we didn't know a hurricane was coming until it hit.

During that time, we had one theater in Goliad, admission for children was 9 cents and adults 12 cents. Every Saturday night we had Mexican movies at midnight.

My brother, Paul, said he was going to the movies and I decided to tag along. This was my first night to a midnight show. Paul and three older brothers would soon be volunteering for the draft as WWII was intensifying.

At about midnight, the movie let out and the hurricane made its grand entrance. I went to my Grandma's home and went to bed.

Shortly after that it hit with full force and broke some windows, some of us were cut. Then, it blew the house off the blocks. I looked for my pants, but couldn't find them.

We left the house in a hurry, with our arms around each other, to keep from being blow away.

My uncle Abel and Noe had their arms around my grandma. Grandma was up in age. Tio Pete was holding on to Tia Maria, who had just had a baby three days before.

Paul had the baby wrapped in a blanket. We were walking south into the wind, perhaps the surge of the storm. We went into the barn and the walls were about to cave in, so we were leaning on them to keep them from breaking. Then all the sudden, the roof blew away.

We started walking again looking for refuge. Lightning was making night turn into daylight. We could see debris flying through the air at perhaps 100 mph. We arrived at a house and a kind old lady opened the door. Her name was Mrs. Susie Gray. We were always grateful to her.

At about 8 o'clock in the morning, the storm was over. No wind or rain. I decided to walk home to my mother's, which was about a mile.

I was lucky that day, I had on some underwear because in those days, underwear was a luxury. We were still feeling the remnants of the Great Depression, which took a horrible war to bring it to an end.

As I was walking home, I could see the destruction of the trees and houses. An old man asked me where were my pants. I told him I had lost them in the storm.

Halfway home, here comes the storm again, just as mean or meaner. People used to say that the storm had a made a U-turn, but I walked in the eye of the storm. It seems I was taking one step forward and one backwards as if I was on a treadmill. I was afraid of being blown away. At the time I was 8 years old and thin. Obesity was unknown in those days.

I finally arrived at home and we decided to leave the house and go to a stone house that the CCC had built and was vacant. Here we weathered the rest of the storm. The stone house is known as the hacienda.

During this time, we had very little to eat and had to drink rainwater. Reminiscing and remembering a beautiful, old, song titled, "When You Walk Through a Storm, Keep You Head Up High and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark."

After that I went to town with my father and saw that the five towers of the courthouse had been blown off by the storm.

Benny C. Martinez

Funnel cloud

SWEET HOME - A funnel cloud touched down in Sweet Home one mile from the school district, where two weeks before a twister touched down and destroyed a gym garage door and two pieces of playground equipment.

I was fishing with my son and husband on the back of our 60 acres when we got a call from family telling us to get to the house.

I have multiple photos as the twister would break apart and re-assemble up to three times before disappearing into the storm clouds all together.

First it appeared at 6:20 and lasted for about 30 minutes.

Desiree Pegaler

Hurricane, 1943

PASADENA - I was 4 1/2 years old, living in Pasadena, TX, when the worst storm since 1900 was predicted to hit Galveston. We lived in a nice house on that mostly empty prairie - one of only about 200 residences in Pasadena in 1943. It was on perhaps 18-20 inch concrete pilings that leveled it on a slight slope.

Daddy got word of the storm on the radio as he was going to work at Champion Paper. He turned around and made a beeline for home.

Mother was frantic. She was afraid of storms, but her mother, Daisy, who lived with us was terrified. She actually would crawl under her bed when lightning and thunder happened, and usually would drag me along with her.

This time, though, when Daddy got home he proceeded to move all the living room furniture away from the windows and roll up that precious wool carpet - remember we were in the middle of WWII and getting new carpet was impossible. He got out the buckets, all the towels in the bathroom, and began trying to keep up with the wind-driven water coming under the windows.

Mother and Daisy were in the most protected bedroom in the house - mine - and were reciting one rosary after another.

That was boring. I wanted to be with Daddy. So I kept going into the living room and he kept chasing me out, back to mother, afraid a window would blow out and I would be cut with glass.

Finally, when no one was paying attention, I crawled into that roll of carpet and went to sleep, probably the safest place in the entire house.

Several hours later I woke up to screams, crying, shouting and all sorts of ruckus.

They had been looking for me and I was nowhere to be found. My parents thought I had somehow managed to go outside and was now lost in the storm. I wasn't sure if I should emerge from the carpet or not.

But I did, and for the first hour or so they were so glad to see me that they forgot to punish me. Then the gladness wore off and I did get a spanking for my "prank."

But, all in all, not too bad a way to spend a hurricane.

Joyce D. Schaefer



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