Techpriest, his Dad & Mom (divorced years ago), his two nephews (one with each of his parents) and I headed out Saturday into the Kansas wilds(west and south). First we hit Turon's Pumpkin Patch had lots of fun, I'll try to post some pictures later. After we wore ourselves out we headed to Pratt to eat lunch. My mother went through nursing school at the community college here and my brother attended for a while too. Mom and I had a lot of fun playing in the Wizard of Oz at the college. She, of course, was one of the wicked witches. :) I was just one of the soldiers of the Emerald City. The adults ate at a Chinese place, the kids had to eat at McDonald's, which took 35 minutes. Then, Techpriest's Mom was in a fender bender, someone pulled out in front of her. We finally managed to get out of Pratt and head on out to Greensburg.
I had left a comment on Prairie Dreams that I would be there Mon. and wondered if Anita could get together. Well, by the time we got to Nickerson to met up with everyone else, the plans had changed and we were going yesterday. Anita was nice enough to go along with the change. Heading into town from the east as we were, at first you don't see the damage. Then, all of a sudden, hardly anything is standing. It was quite dramatic. We met Anita, conned her into driving around with us, and let Techpriest take the kids to the park. It is on the northeast side of town, so was untouched, but it will be torn down along with the swimming pool so the highway can go to four lane.
No pictures this post, it didn't really seem right, kinda rude, ya know? Didn't want to take pictures of someone's heartache. I actually didn't think about it either, to busy absorbing it all. It is totally different seeing it for yourself. Except for a few buildings, the whole town is gone. The kwik shop survived, one brick shop building downtown of a row of shops was still up, a condemned house made it through. The bar and liquor store survived, yet none of the churches did. The courthouse looked alright, but the roof had gotten torn off and set right back down again, exactly where it was. So water had gotten in and caused a lot of damage. Probably be a year before it is up and running again. I saw a house missing, but the garage just a few feet away still standing. By the lake was a car upside down in the trees. We kept asking her "This was all houses?" because it was hard to tell until you got close enough to see the holes of basements and the foundations lying there. Sometimes there were flowers still growing in the flowerbeds. A few houses made it through, and there is some new construction. It was odd, a new house right next to a gaping hole where a house used to be. There was still rumble in lots of places. Some of the street signs were pieces of plywood with the street names spray painted on, some of those had nicer signs stapled to them. A lot of the street signs had been replaced though. It seemed like those street signs said a lot. Anita was raised in Greensburg, yet she said she had to count blocks to know where she was after the tornado. All the landmarks that used to be there are gone. I bet they really needed those spray painted signs. I wonder how difficult it was to figure out which street was which in the beginning. There were things spray painted on the house left too, made by rescuers to know which houses had been searched. Some of these little things hit me more than the big stuff.
I really don't know what else to say, but if you want to get an idea of the devastation here is Anita's list of photo galleries to look at.
New York Daily News
Though I haven't looked through all these pictures, I know they don't tell the whole story. They don't show you what it looks like now. Though the majority of the rumble is cleaned up, there is still so much left to do, so much left to rebuild. And it will never be the town Anita remembers from her childhood.
Thank you so much for sharing with us Anita!