William J. Brock
Mr. Ramby, I happened upon your site and would like to share my story, if I may.
I was 10 years old at the time. My family lived on Tomahawk Trail in Arrowhead,
just across from Warner Junior High. My father and mother were both at work that day
and I was home with one of my 5 older brothers. I was watching television on the main
floor of our house and my brother was asleep on the couch in the basement. When word of
a tornado warning came on TV, I immediately went downstairs, just in case. I had gotten
to the basement when our phone, which was in the stairwell to the basement, rang. It was
my mother making sure I was in a safe place. I told her I already was and hung up the phone.
About a minute after getting back to the basement, I started to hear the roar outside.
I remember looking out of the basement windows just as the aluminum awning over the back
porch lifted up and away. The windows to the basement blew in on their hinges and the backdoor
exploded down the stairway sending debris where I had stood just moments before. My brother,
of course, had woken up and we grabbed each other in fear as the tornado passed overhead.
When it had passed, which seemed like an eternity, we went to make our way out of the
basement, having to move aside a section of wall which had partially covered the stairway.
When we emerged, we stood in shock, as everyone did, and could do nothing except
look around in dis-belief. The entire house with the exception of an interior wall was gone.
Yet there on the one remaining door still hung a purse of my mothers. A stack of music albums
still rested right were they had been although the wall behind them was gone. I recall an
older man a few housed down from us was trapped by a wall which had fallen, pinning his legs
but leaving him sitting upright where the window frame was. A lot of people were working to
free him. Presently, we saw our father staggering down the street in a daze. His head was
covered in blood and he was completely disoriented. we later learned that he had thought I
was home alone and left work at Sears to try to make it home to get me. He had made it to
only a few streets away from home when he was caught up in the tornado. His last recollection
of what happened was trying to drive between houses to avoid the storm and being pulled from
the car by the wind. When we went to look at our Ford station wagon at the junkyard, it was no
more than a foot or two tall, having been smashed completely by the force.
To our amazement, my oldest brother, who had been estranged from the family and
had not been seen in some time, made his way to our house in his Volkswagen Bug and gathered
my father to take him to the hospital. he had been working only a short distance away and
somehow managed to drive around, over and through the rubble to our rescue. My brother and
I then tried to make our way across town to where our mother was working at a medical clinic.
My oldest brother drove us and our father out of arrowhead and dropped us off to continue while
he took my father on to the hospital. We were picked up by a man who had a very seriously
injured woman in the back of his station wagon and dropped off by the football field at the
edge of town. We made it to the Sears store were our father worked and were told that our
mother had been there already and we were to go to a friends house in Lanewood where we would
all meet. That night we stayed at the house in Lanewood and I remember the panic that everyone
felt when it was announced (falsely) that another storm was approaching. My father spent a few
days in the hospital from his head injuries and suffered from double vision for some years
after that, eventually recovering fully.
We did not rebuild in Arrowhead, choosing instead to move to Beavercreek, where upon
my entering high school, I had the pleasure of being reunited with many of my Xenia classmates
whom I had not seen since that day.
Thank you for the chance to tell my story.
William J. Brock
Site Created and Maintained by Homer G. Ramby