Monday, the very next day after the tornado, the weather had turned cold and the skies were now filled with wintery clouds, hinting that snow was on the way. Gone were the thoughts of summer fun that had teased us so bad the day before. Our mind now became occupied with the results of the damage, how everything was going to get cleaned up, if we would ever recover our most valuable possessions, and if we could ever rebuild all that we had. The clean up started that day. First we searched our own property, looking for anything salvageable. Mud, dirt and insulation were plastered to everything. There was hardly anything that had gone unscathed. The very Saturday after the tornado, the day before Easter, hundreds of volunteers came out to help search and pick up debris on our neighboring farms. Even with good intentions, they were hampered by a blanket of snow that had covered the fields. Clean up continued throughout the summer. Every object, every piece of paper that we ran across was carefully examined, to make sure it was not something of value, sentimental or otherwise, that belonged to a neighbor. It was almost a ritual, one we wanted to do to remove all evidence, to deny that a disaster had struck our community.
Despite all the destruction, there had only been one death reported in our community, a salesman who had rented a room at the Swan Inn, less than half a mile from our home. Somehow our thoughts were not as much with him and his family as with our own.
I returned to school on Monday after Easter. We lived in a trailer park that summer. Tornado alerts caused fear and angst that summer, and saw us seek shelter in the Fire barn across Alpine Avenue many times. The Red Cross brought food and clothing. The Sunday after Easter our streets were opened again but when so many gawkers began to show up that we could not even get out of our own vehicles in and out of the street, they were closed once again.
These are some of my immediate recollections of the Palm Sunday Tornado. It is one of many stories.