always remember Tuesday, May 6th, 1975; the day of the Tornado
home from Roncalli High School about 3 p.m. The sky was an
eerie gray, very humid, and no wind.
Fr. Charles Buckley and my brother, Steve, were going to leave
for the Ak-Sar-Ben horse races at 3:30 p.m., but my mom advised
them not to go just in case as they may, later on, get caught
in the storm. A tornado watch had been issued for the area
earlier in the day.
dad arrived home from work about 4 p.m. and all of us watched
the television stations about the severe weather reports outside
the Omaha area. At 4:15 p.m., the tornado sirens sounded and
all of us, except my uncle, went to our rec-room in the basement.
My uncle was from Oklahoma where they always had tornado warnings,
so he was not as impressed with this one, neither.
p.m., the tornado touched down at 96th & Q streets as
we listened to the accounts on TV and radio of its path.
p.m., we had heard on the radio the tornado was at 72nd and
Pacific. At this time, the sky outside was totally black and
it was raining hard. My uncle finally came down stairs and
joined us in the rec-room. My dad looked out of our basement
window and saw lots of debris in the air. At 4:47 p.m., the
tornado was at our house.
the loudest sound I had ever heard, but for some reason, it
didn’t hurt my ears. For 30 seconds, I could not see
my hand in front of my face; it was that dark as the tornado
passed. Lots of noises like wood cracking and windows breaking
were heard as we all crunched behind our couch and table in
or rec-room. In a moment, it was over. Luckily, the house
was not blown off the foundation.
all of us got over the initial shock of the tornado’s
devastation, we tried to get upstairs from the basement; we
couldn’t open the door. A single 2x4 had lodged itself
into the door and made it impossible for us to open it out.
At that time, a fireman had stuck his head in our broken basement
window and wanted to know if everyone was OK. We said, “Yes”,
and then he told us not to light any matches, as there were
lots of gas leaks in the area.
pried the door off its hinges and came upstairs to find it
raining very hard. We had our roof torn off and two sides
of our house were ripped away.
one of the last families to come upstairs from the basement
because of us being stuck in the basement. As I looked around
the neighborhood, I saw lots of devastation; houses flattened,
lots of trees uprooted or completely gone. Our two cars, which
were parked in front of our house, were now 1 house and 3
houses away, totally destroyed. Our neighbors, the Maus, had
a car in their basement – we found out later Colleen
Mau and the 4 girls were sent to the hospital with cuts and
scrapes. I walked over to Bakers Supermarket at 72nd &
Blondo because they had the only phone that was working in
the area. The line to make a call was very long, so I cam
back to the neighborhood.
spent the night at my brother-in-law’s house about 5
miles away. The next morning and the next few days were warm
and with clear skies. We spent the rest of the week cleaning
up and salvaging what we could from our house. In the light
of the day, we say how strong and powerful the tornado was.
We had to show our identification every time we entered the
neighborhood as the National Guard was patrolling the neighborhood.
spent the summer of ’75 in Lake Forrest Apartments at
114th and Maple as they rebuilt our house. We finally moved
back in October 1, 1975. I still live in this house 30 years
later and there are 6 other families that are still here in
the neighborhood. To this day, I listen and react to the tornado
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