I have shared my story with a women who wrote a book about it and it was
also published in the Dayton Daily News with my Dad's photos William R.
Hunter "Ray's Professional Photography" (his 2nd profession/ Delco Moraine in
Dayton his 1st). He was at DM when it hit. Now. Here’s what I wrote back
then (I was 14 years old) for my English class at Wayne High School after
relocated to Huber Heights. My teacher made me stand up and read it to the
class the next day and everyone including me was in tears. What an
experience! Got a B+ ~~ : ^ )
Xenia, Ohio U.S.A. April 3rd, 1974
It was a weird day. In the morning when I went to school, the sky
was calm, no sign of any wind or clouds.
As the day went on, I can remember I had already been in five of my
classes. It was now sixth period. The sun shone brightly and blinded my
vision. Thin clouds began to cover the sky. It began to rain softly, then
very hard! The streets were running over with water, as if God was giving
our town it's last sip
The bell rang and I noticed it was beginning to sleet. I struggled
to get through the crowd in order to get to my next class on time. I went
into the room and looked outside. It was hailing! It was hailing so hard
that you could hear it pounding upon the ground. It wasn't long before
school was dismissed and on the way home I walked through a misty haze.
I walked into the house. Mom told me that had left word for me to
clean up the attic. I had thrown the Christmas boxes up in it quite lazily.
I wouldn't have done that if I had it to do over, but I have no attic to
clean up now
When I came down from the attic, tornado watches were being issued on
the radio our county and many others. Either I told Mom or she told me
(It's hard to remember) not to go back up until the watch was over or rather
cleared (never thinking of what was to come).
I got a glass of orange juice and sat down at the dining room table.
I said to Mom, "A tornado has never hit Xenia before" and she said,
"There's always a first time for everything". I later found out that Xenia had
been hit before, but at the time I didn't know that. I turned around and
looked out the back door. I saw it forming, a cluster of about six to eight
tiny funnels. They were all high in the sky swirling furiously above the
I said, "Oh my God! I see one! Come here quick! Hurry! Look! She
said, "Oh come on Terry! That isn't funny. Don't kid around like that.
That's nothing to joke about".
She came to the back door thinking I was joking or something. I
couldn't understand why she thought I was fooling. I guess it's just something
that's unbelievable, and no one can believe that such a thing would ever
happen to them. That's what I thought before, but not anymore. I can
She called my sister, Tammy into the room. We were all standing at
the back door panicking. Mom blurted out, "We better get out of this room
or we will be cut to pieces". We had a wall of 12" square mirror tiles.
That is if it were to hit, not really thinking it would.
We went to the master bedroom in a rage not knowing what to do. We
went to the bedroom window and stood there watching it form for about five
to ten minutes. It first formed into a very skinny funnel, somewhat like
the familiar pictures you often see. It wasn't touching the surrounding area
yet. It was splitting up into little funnels, and then going back into
the skinny familiar tornado.
Tammy said, "Oh, it's not coming this way you guys. I've never seen
anything like it!" But I knew it was coming toward our house because of
the way the wind current was blowing.
I truly was terrified! It was something I had never seen before and
never really thought much about, but it was a different story now. It was
coming and there was no way of avoiding it. Our house was in it's path.
We finally saw it drill down onto the Windsor park development a
development that was connected to ours. It looked like birds were being pulled
into it. It was really wood and debris flying about at 300mph.
The funnel wasn't a funnel anymore. It was huge! Gigantic, if the
word is alright or proper to use.
We lived in front of Warner Junior High School. There was a field in
between Warner and Arrowood Elementary School.
It was swooping it's way across the field tearing up the sidewalk and
pavement, throwing wood, electrical and every kind of wiring that you can
imagine. Roof tops, telephone poles and just everything!
We were told (previously) by a TV repair man to get in the master
bedroom by or under some heavy furniture. This tornado wasn't a regular one.
it destroyed tall heavy buildings, concrete, brick, frame shacks,
mansions, huge trees, everything, complete devastation!
We huddled up against the side of the bed shouting out to God. "God
be with us!" "Please Lord, Oh God Please!" Those are the words I remember
I thought it would never go over our house. It almost stood in one
place and swirled through the house, ripping it into scattered memories.
When it finally passed, I couldn't move. I heard my sister yelling out for
my Mom and me. She was screaming out our names, "Mom, Terry, Are you
alright? Oh God! Everything's destroyed! Don't move Mom, I'll get you out!
I'll get you out!" Tammy was left standing with the bedroom door.
It took five guys to get me out from under the rubble that was around
me, under me, on top of me, everywhere! It took them twenty to thirty
minutes to get me out.
When Mom got out from under the debris with the help of my sister,
she smelled gas, and of course, so did I. From the time she got out until I
was freed, we thought the remainder of the house (if there was any) would
blow up with me still trapped, unable to move an inch. The only thing I
could see was the tile on the bedroom floor.
They finally managed to pull me out from under the remains of what
used to be a home, a home filled with love, that I thought would never be
broken apart. We have the love in our home now as much as we had in it
before, possibly more, if such a think is possible.
Everyone's been so kind and generous. I don't know how I can ever
thank all the people that's been so thoughtful of the scattered loved ones.
GOD BLESS YOU!
XENIA LIVES AND ALWAYS WILL!
Terry G. Hunter
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