April 16, 2019

The Anniversary of Nashville's 1998 Tornado

Today is the anniversary of the 1998 tornado that hit Nashville,TN.  

Why is this something I'd share on my blog?  Well...it was my first year of teaching & my school was in one of the worst hit areas.  Oh...and my classroom was destroyed.
I'm getting ahead of myself...lets start at the beginning. 

(my portable is the one behind the mess in the foreground...to the right of the picture...notice how far it is from the steps!!)

 It was report card time again, and I had been staying at school until 6pm almost every night.  On this particular day...as I was driving to work in the pouring rain a belt on my car was damaged.  I was able to drive to a repair shop near my school, and call someone to come get me.  That meant I'd not be able to stay and work after school though.  All day we had tornado warnings/watches...and had to come back into the main building several times.  I would have people knock on my door though, because my P.A. system was not working in my portable.  The end of the day came....and my ride was ready to take me to see if my car was ready.  As we left...we had no idea that a tornado was right behind us!    We stopped at the repair shop, but my car was not ready yet.  My friend said she'd be happy to take me home.  As we drove past Opry Land Hotel...the hail started coming down.  We pulled over because it was almost impossible to see.  As the hail cleared....we started on our way once more.  However, we quickly saw the tornado dropping out of the sky less than a quarter of a mile from where we were...and pulled over once more.  I'll never forget the sight, but could never truly describe it.  My friend said, "What do we do? Do we get in the ditch?"  Looking at the ditch full of water & power lines over head...I told her I thought we were safer in the car.  WE PRAYED.  We also watched.  The funnel dropped down and went through a building in front of us...then crossed the road we were on.  We had no idea that this tornado had just went through our school...destroying many of our portables and doing unbelievable damage to the neighborhood.  

It was several days before I was allowed back to see the damage to my classroom.  There area was so severely damaged that it was not safe to return (power lines, trees, debris from homes & other structures).  I had been told it was bad & to prepare myself. The administration & staff knew I had poured my heart & soul into making that little classroom a magical place for my students...so much of my time & money invested.  I arrived to find my portable had been pulled off its foundation and landed on a car that was parked next to it(the teacher seemed to blame me for this the rest of the time I worked at that school??).  Parts of the roof were missing & there were holes on opposite walls were something went straight through.  All the kids art was ruined (I'm friends with one of my girls from back then on Facebook...and she still brings up losing her rose painting!  Art has impact...missing her painting after 20 yrs!!)  My books & electronic devices were ruined.  To the surprise of many... much of my supplies were saved because of storing them in Sterilite containers! (I get nothing for promoting them...I just believe in the product!!!  http://www.sterilite.com/ )

I taught the rest of the year going from classroom to classroom(no art on a cart...those were all destroyed too).  My home base was on the cafeteria stage.  What memories!? However, all the families at my school were safe even in the midst of all that destruction.  Things can be replaced.  I guess another bright side was the following year we got brand new portables that actually had running water in them!

So next time you want to complain about your first year of teaching...it could be worse.  I know of many stories that are much more devastating than mine.  
I count my blessings!!

1 comment:

  1. My first year of teaching was nothing close to a tornado but I got trapped in the remote town I was teaching in for four days because the river flooded! On the bright side, my last three days of school got cancelled! Both sides of the highway flooded and I had to wait for the water to go down before I moved away (I was only in the position one year).