When I was Young No. 22 – Summer Wind

Summer Wind

Outhouses being tipped over was the sort of thing that happened on Halloween nights when teenage boys roamed Van Hook with nothing else to do. Outhouses being tipped over was the sort of thing that happened when tornadoes ripped through or very near Van Hook several times when we lived there.

One night a tornado came close to our house. The roar woke me up just like the one in Kansas. It tipped over our outhouse and moved it a good distance from the pit. It’s a good thing no one went out there until daylight. A neighbor’s house was not damaged but their outhouse was also tipped over.

The storm blew away the hay stack next to Guff Olson’s barn to the north of us but it didn’t damage any of his buildings. Even his outhouse was left standing. The dozen round, corrugated steel, temporary storage units by the railroad tracks about a quarter mile down the hill to the south from us sustained the most damage. The tornado crumpled them like aluminum soda cans stomped on by a playing boy. Boys my age spent hours playing in and around them and being amazed at how all of the wheat was gone.

Another tornado that summer hit the south side of town and lifted a wooden grain storage building from its foundation but there was no other damage. The tornado lifted the building turned it almost precisely 180 degrees and set back on its foundation. Adults talked about how little or none of the grain was lost. We boys were quite impressed when we saw the entry door with no steps and the steps and loading ramps on the other side with no doors.

A wonderment to us was how all of the strong steel storage bins could have been more damaged in the earlier tornado.

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