Connie's Story

I met Connie in the Facebook group Forgotten Omaha.

Someone had posted the booklet, "The Omaha Tornado - May 6,1975".. I was trying to get a copy of it. Connie provided me with her copy (soon to be scanned and uploaded).

She also has included her recollection of that day.

Connie was in sixth grade at the time of the tornado.
(..."Run Home" - that told me something was wrong... )

'75, I was in 6th grade, we were informed we were dismissing early, and we were to go straight home, not to stop to play, etc. "Run as fast as you can home". Even the safety patrol who normally made you walk were yelling, "Run Home" - that told me something was wrong.

When I got home, Mom who had COPD and on oxygen 24/7 had gone as far as her cord would go down the basement stairs and managed to start a pillow and blanket bunker in my sister's closet along with our radio, flashlight, and snacks for me. Shortly after, my dad was home.

My sister Kathy worked at First Data Resources at 7301 Pacific from 3pm - Midnight. When word came the monster was thundering towards her, we grew worried. When all-clear came, we realized the monster ascended a half mile west of our house but 7301 Pacific was hit.

As stories came through of the devastation and we found out there was a small garage owner, whose shop was on 69th & Maple, had climbed onto the roof to view the storm only to be blown away and died.

My (to become) husband (Steven) lived on 67th and Lake St. which was 0.3 miles from there. My sister's friend had driven to work that day. In the lower level of their building was a fitness center with a pool, which First Data was turning into a server room, so all the employees took refuge in the pool. They emerged to chaos. All the car windows were gone, and a twin size mattress was wedged under the car.

When they were able to head home the National Guard directed them through Elmwood Park east of FDR and cleared them through the neighborhoods and curfew.

Since the phones were out at 7301, we were so worried, and my dad wanted to drive out as far as he could. But Mom convinced him to stay put. We were overjoyed when on nail-filled tires they arrived.

Steven did photography as a hobby ad he walked his neighborhood trying to see the damage. He told me he was chased away by National Guard twice, threatened with arrest on his third try.

Many businesses were damaged. Some never rebuilt or moved to new locations. Our classrooms became larger as kids were bussed in.

Thank you for this opportunity. For years, I tried to get Steven to thin the collection of stuff. I'm glad to see them go to one who can put them to use.