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The speaker is a 63-year-old White woman with a high school education from Belmont, Wisconsin; she was recorded in 1968.
4:12-6:25


County: Lafayette
State: WI

Commentary:
Southwestern Wisconsin, historically a lead-mining area as well as an agricultural region (which also boasted the state's first capitol building in Old Belmont), is situated on broad, upland plateaus. The location is wide open to strong western winds as they cross the Mississippi River and surge across Wisconsin. The speaker recounts her experience with a tornado that came from the west and flattened much of her community.
Inf: And uh, we didn't know at that time that there was tornado warnings out. But afterwards we found out there was. And, we had some chickens. Only about nine, ten. And those chickens wouldn't go to roost. And it made me so cross. I's just scoldin' 'em. And my, husband, he was building a small building in the back yard, and we could see that the sky got real orange in the west. We had a tree in the, our yard, that we knew it was gonna blow down sometime, and we had a car parked there and my husband says, "Will you help me push this car out in the road?" And my aunt and uncle, cousin lived next door. They wanted us to go with them up to the school basement, and I said, "No, we haven't got time."

FW: You mean this, by this time you knew that there were storm warnings out?

Inf: Well, we didn't know it, but we knew it was a bad storm comin', we could see by the sky. So my uh aunt and them went to school. And we stayed home, got the car off of the, under the trees. And we went into the house. And the wind began to blow. And, it blew the kitchen door open and big-- blew the tree down, but it wouldn't have fallen the way the car was, it fell in the opposite direction, it fell right towards our kitchen door. My husband says, "I'm standing here by the door. If we get another gush like that, you make a dive for under that tree," the tree that had fallen. And you could just look out the window, and the corn was just bent over like there was no corn there.

FW: (laughs) Geez.

Inf: So, uh, after the storm was over,

FW: It didn't blow again big like that, huh?

Inf: Didn't blow at our place, where we were.

FW: Yeah, I see.

Inf: But after it was over, he says, "Well let's go over to, my folks, and see how they made out."

FW: Where was your house at this time?

Inf: We were back of the school.

FW: I see. Yeah.

Inf: And his folks lived over

FW: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Inf: So we drove down around the street here and we'd see people, and we drove, over to his folks. Their house was gone.

FW: Really?

Inf: Demolished. Well, they told us there that his mother and dad were out and told, they were down to, by Mr. _____, so we went down there and Grandma wanted some things from the house, so we went back up to the house. And the, the house had been lifted up and a broken . . . a tree had broken off and the tree came back down, I mean the house came back down on the tree.

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