The Palm Sunday Tornadoes & Creepy Coincidences
Last week I dug out my tornado research so I could work on chapters three and four of my memoir. The Palm Sunday tornadoes loom large in my family's mythology. They happened when my mom was a girl, killing 10 people in her tiny hometown and hundreds more across the nation.
Tornadoes tend to be incredibly well-documented, which makes them a great place to start genealogical research. I requested a packet of newspaper clippings from the local historical society, and found old videos on YouTube.
When I finished writing a retelling of the tornado, I had my mom read it to confirm that I'd gotten the details right.
Here's the creepy part.
Three days later, the clouds opened up. A stage-one tornado descended and took out several trees in Mom's front yard. Then it dissipated back into the sky.
I'm not making this up. But I struggle with whether to include the second tornado in my book, because it seems too much like lazy fiction to be reality.
What an obvious way to make a point about the past coming back to haunt you.
If I read it in a genre novel, I might throw down the book in disgust. But this is what really happened. And now the tornado isn't just part of Mom's mythology. It's become mine, too. In fact, I feel a little responsible for the second one.
Sorry, Mom. Sorry, trees. And sorry, past. Your warning has fallen onto deaf ears. I'm still writing the story of my family history, and I'm more intrigued than ever.