Before the tornado

Women and Adversity:

After the tornado

Living through a natural disaster

Part II

The tornado hit us two months ago, and we’re being patient about getting our house repaired. Several managers and adjusters have documented the destruction and decided what repairs are needed, but the roof shingles rest in the driveway, boards still cover broken windows and eaves and fascia hang from the cedar siding. Inside, woodwork slants away from frames while flooring and walls have gouges.

One aspect difficult to accept is looking through mud-splattered windows and seeing ruts in lawns where heavy equipment was needed to remove fallen and splintered trees. Intermittent patches of green surround trampled brown grass, and bare spots fill in where grass should be. Of the dozen azaleas we had in our backyard, only one survived, and most of the other shrubs we had were uprooted, damaged or killed.

I have talked to neighbors who had to find another place to live because their homes were condemned. Roofs were ripped from their girders, pine trees collapsed inside living rooms and bedrooms, and furniture was smashed to unrecognizable bits.

No one I talked to is saying “Why Me?” They understand that a natural disaster doesn’t only select homes whose owners have generous insurance payouts. Everyone accepts that what happened was random destruction. They are ready to collect the pieces and move on to rebuild, if not their homes, at least their lives.

We realize that we will spend most of 2021 repairing and rebuilding. We’ll have a newly refurbished, redecorated home, and we’ll be fine with that. We see new beginnings in our future.





Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I published three ebooks in 2020: Women and Adversity, Honoring 23 Black Women; Women and Adversity, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers; and Women and Adversity, Saluting 23 Faithful Suffragists to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. These books are meant to be study guides for all students from grade school through college to help in choosing topics for assignments and to learn more about these noteworthy women. Go to, and to learn more.

  1. Judith Jadron says:

    Reading this just claws at the heart! Your response reinforces belief in the human spirit.
    Sincere wishes, Jo, to you and your neighbors in restoring your area to its former glory–and beyond!

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