Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 27, 2011 The Worst Tornado Outbreak in Alabama Ever.

As I was getting ready to leave, my husband came into the room and said look what I found.  He was holding a 4X6 photo of a family.  The way they were dressed looked like the early 1980's.  As I looked at the picture I did two things, first said a prayer that the family in that picture was safe and second I realized that tears were flowing.  Before I left home I walked around my yard and picked up remnants of other people's lives, another piece of a photo, a couple of book pages, wallpaper and roofing material. I didn't pick up any of the insulation and tiny pieces of paper.  I have no idea where these things came from, we live 75 - 100 miles away from the destruction in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

Like most Thursdays, I left home on April 28, 2011 to go to Nichols Memorial Library.  It was "library day" a day when members of NEAGS gather there to help those who come by to research.  Usually a quick stop at Walmart to pickup drinks and snacks, in case we don't get lunch.  But this day was different.  My Walmart stop included making copies of the picture from our yard, but I could hardly move in the store, people were everywhere, buying flashlights, batteries, bread, charcoal and other items that you would use if you were out of power.  Most I talked with were from Marshall and Blount counties.  A couple said the damage wasn't as bad  there but  the power was out and most stores and gas stations were closed.   When I got to the library after 10:30, there weren't any researchers there, they didn't come all day.  A strange eerie feeling followed all day, then we started to hear about the damage and death in our area.

Perhaps this post isn't what it should be, but my heart is heavy and the need for prayer, food, supplies, re-building materials and plain old fashioned personal comfort is so great for many of our neighbors.  My area and the area of Nichols Library weren't in the storm's path, but so many of our friends were.  As of this morning 250 people have died in Alabama, 1000's are still unaccounted for.  Many thousands are homeless, you'll see the damage from Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Cullman on TV.  You may not see the small communities like Ohatchee, Silver Lakes, Pleasant Valley, Glencoe, Moody, Leeds, Pell City, Shoal Creek, Rainsville and Fyffe. These are just the small towns in the N.E. Alabama Genealogical Society area there are many more small communities devastated in N. Alabama.  Most of the state parks in N.E. Alabama are closed until further notice. Guntersville State Park took a direct hit in the first round of storms Wednesday morning, DeSoto State Park was hit by the afternoon and evening storms.

Hopefully some of the schools will be able to reopen next week and give the children a chance to resume some normal life activities. Although many of them will be living in shelters and have no home to go back to.

I hope if nothing else comes from my blog today you will pray for Alabama, hug your families and make copies of your precious family memories then store one copy in a safe deposit box or with your local genealogy society or library.

One phrase has been coined by the guru of local TV weather personalities to show our determination to remember that "this too will pass" and I'll end my post with that "We Are Alabama".

Next project!

The Ancestor Swap Meet 2011 is history and things are almost back to normal at Nichols Library.  Thursday, some of us were able to put swap meet things away and clean up the library.  Several projects are in the works and will take time in the weeks ahead.  Gail Brown and I have been working on a cemetery book for Fairview Cemetery. This book gets put aside when other things have to be done for the society. Hopefully it will be finished in the near future.

N.E. Alabama Genealogical Society will be a vendor at the Cumberland Gap Jamboree in June.  This will be our first time as a vendor but if all goes well it won't be our last.  We will be representing our area of Alabama, even though most of the people who come through Cumberland won't be interested in Alabama, they may someday have a need for an Alabama research connection.

Another project is to obtain microfilm for use in Nichols Library.  We were fortunate to receive a grant that allowed us to purchase a state of the art microfilm reader/printer.
We have some microfilm but we would like to offer more for our researchers.

So our journey through family history and our love for Nichols Memorial Library continues.