May 7, 2007

Boom, and it's all gone...

Tim Blair links to blogger Joni, in the town of Greensburg, Kansas, destroyed by a tornado...

This is what my hometown of Greensburg, Kansas, used to look like. It's a small, rural town in Southwest Kansas. Last night, a tornado swept through the town, killing at least 7 people, and destroying most of the town. (News reports are saying 90% of the town was destroyed or damaged.) Every church in town, including the one my parents and my sisters' family attend, was either severely damaged or destroyed. The roof of the small hospital collapsed. My family lives a few miles north of town, and none of them were injured. Three family members worked in Greensburg, and will be dealing with the devastation left behind. Thankfully, several relatives and friends are known to be safe. I'm sure more details will come out as time passes. Right now, they are evacuating the entire town (what's left of it), for people's safety, and to enable safety and rescue efforts to go forward.

Please pray for Greensburg, Kansas, my family, and the surrounding community. How do you rebuild an entire town?

The picture of the town as it was before was very affecting to me. I've been in that sort of country town many times. I've never lived in one; it's hard for me to imagine what growing up in a small town would be like.

But still, I can picture it. I said to myself, there will be a train line, with grain elevators beside it. The streets will be a grid, and there will be one called "Main Street." And in one direction all the streets will be named after trees. Well, you can look on Google Maps, and there they are! And there are streets named after presidents, and after states. I guessed there might be a "Euclid Avenue," but I don't see one...

The fast-growing Southern California suburb I grew up in had a small agricultural town at it's center, like something preserved from an earlier age. It was in the process, in one sense,of being destroyed as thoroughly as if a tornado had hit, though many of the buildings were still there. There were housing tracts with one corner "notched," where an old farmhouse still stood, weathered, overgrown, with decorative trimwork that contrasted oddly with the 50's architecture all around it. And there were still many groves in my youth, citrus and avocado. And there were still old-timers around, and some barns, and funny little Caterpillar tractors that could disc an orange grove. The ground under the avocados was always covered in big crackly dry leaves, that would make a racket as you walked over them.

More pix here. Flabbergasting.

Posted by John Weidner at May 7, 2007 8:31 AM
Weblog by John Weidner