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Recalling the Tornado of June 1, 2011 in Southbridge - Honey Meyer

Path of Tornado with Rosemeade housing in background - Dick Whitney Photo


June 12, 2011 Recollection by Honey Meyer


I lost my apartment during the June 1, 2011 tornado which swept right through the walkway to get to my apartment and beyond. The kitties and I watched the entire debacle; I was mesmerized. I Watched the blooming dogwood tree in front of my patio get torn from the ground, upending on its side on the ground. It was 25 years old. The forest and woodland trees in back and in front of my apartment complex had been stripped of their bark; with the trees bent off; the logs lifted up and landing in the backyards of my neighbors in the houses below the apartment complex (which is up on a hill).


My formerly beautiful view is now gone, looking like a war zone. Unimaginable devastation--just as you saw on TV.


Five of the buildings were destroyed or made uninhabitable and/or condemned. Roofs were blown off; car windows were blown out; window smashed; vinyl siding stripped; dormers blown off the buildings; entire ends of buildings blown away with the pipes left showing; the dumpster across from my apartment blown 1/2 mile away. And, of course, no electricity.


I stood spellbound watching it all. I planned to stay overnight in my apartment, but at the last minute, the police & firemen knocked on my door; told me a second storm was on its way, and that I HAD to leave my apartment in less than 2 minutes. I grabbed my handbag and my cell phone and walker. They picked me up and put me in the cab of the ambulance and brought me along with 5 others to the shelter-- the senior center, the former armory.


There we stayed until midnight, when those without family in the area were taken by police car to the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center, where I have stayed, and will stay until tomorrow (Monday). With helpful friends and a lot of luck, almost everything in my apartment was saved.


The Red Cross and Chamber of Commerce are helping and we’ve all been gifted with gift cards by the hotel (Walmart), our neighborhood grocery market (Big Bunny) United Lens Co (Food bank extraordinaire) and more. My insurance company has been wonderful, and, although I spend all day making arrangements with various providers for phone and internet service, meals on wheels and my home care staff, newspapers and all else.


My personal care attendant will be at the hotel at 1PM to shower and shampoo me, and services will be in place next week at this time (God Willing). I have volunteer high school graduates to assist with rides and unpacking. My former workplace cohort and her male “honey” have given up work time to help enormously.


What fascinates me is that I was not at all fearful about what was happening. Perhaps that is because, quite simply, I do not know that there had been a Tornado warning on television. I just watched the torrential rain against my living room and dining room window and smashing shut my patio door. No cowering in the bathroom or closets as others did; just watching Mother Nature doing Her thing. She did quite a job!


Honey Meyer

Honey Meyer Photo


 Dick Whitney photo


Read Dan Butlers account of the Southbridge Tornado

Tornado photos from June 2, 2011

Recollection of Southbridge

Southbridge Page

Whitney Home Page

Dick Whitney email: dickwhitney@charter.net