Your letters: Crowded together in the small, dirt floor basement, by Dayla Bagley

By  | 

(SUBMITTED) -- I was 10 years old, two days before my 11th birthday, when the tornado hit.

I was playing outside when the sirens blew. My parents were designing my birthday cake, which was to be shaped like a pony. We always went next door to our neighbors basement. It was nicer than ours.

We lived in the 1000 block of Clay. My father went to get my Grandma and uncle, who lived around the corner. In the small unfinished, dirt floor basement, we had 7 people and 2 dogs.

My father always stayed upstairs and watched, but that night was the only time he came downstairs and shut the basement door. My neighbor asked if it was that bad. My hard of hearing grandma heard the roar of the storm. We listened to WREN radio, which was right down the street, and worried about Rick Douglas.

After the storm passed, we had some black and white snapshots in our yards. We had no power, but there was blue sky.

We stayed at our neighbors (not unusual) for some time after. Our neighbor received a call from her sister letting her know that their "house was gone" (they lived across from Washburn University), and her neighbors had been killed. That is when we knew how bad it was.

I remember it was cold on June 9, 1966. I don't know what the temperature was but I was wearing a sweatshirt in June. My parents made meatloaves to help feed the people who had lost everything.

WIBW's broadcast was total tornado coverage, with families trying to communicate with each other. That day had such an impact on our city.

Dayla Bagley