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  • By : Lalu
  • March 15, 2019


Chapter 3 – Debbie, Me and the Tornado (1984)


Ok, so this for me is one of the most woo-woo strange and unusual moments of my life. My sister Debbie and I lived together in an apartment in Clayton, MO. The apartment was located close to the university I was attending. An interesting anecdote of this time was that we drove a Lincoln Continental that my dad sent to us from Puerto Rico. Yes, I’m not kidding. She and I were driving all over St. Louis, Missouri in a Lincoln Continental that had Puerto Rican license plates. But this wasn’t by any means the strange or unusual.

Our building had a pool as part of the tenant perks. Debbie and I decided to go one summer day to enjoy swimming and sunbathing for a few hours. We arrived late so that most people had the sun to their backs and for whatever reason, they didn’t change positions. We found lounge chairs and made sure we were facing the sun which felt as if we were the only two facing the rest of the crowd.

As we laid there, we felt a swirling of air. The wind started to pick up and we looked for the source of the fast moving air. As we looked over the horizon, we saw this tornado up ahead coming towards us with a lot of force.  Now that I think about it, the sun was shining brightly and for some reason that doesn’t make any sense.

Debbie and I looked at each other in pure panic. We started to yell, ‘Tornado, tornado!” And we ran like lunatics to the pool bathroom to take cover. We stood there waiting for it to pass. What we noticed at first was that no one followed us. We were the only two crouching for cover in the bathroom. After some time went by, we decided to check out what was happening.

Nothing! Nothing was happening.  The sun was shining brightly. Everyone was as they were, continuing with what they were doing as if nothing had happened. Debbie and I still talk about it to this day.  If it wasn’t for her, I would have thought for sure that I lost my mind. But thank God she was there! It still feels so surreal that at times I have a difficult time sharing this story due to how ridiculous it sounds.

(Note: Recently, in a conversation with my sister, she remembers the incident quite differently. She says that a few other people ran into the bathroom as well…that it wasn’t just the two of us. She also recalls the sky darkening during the approach of the tornado, but before and after the event, the sun was out as if nothing was in the horizon.

It’s important to recognize that our recollection of past events can be tricky and definitely colored by our own lense and perception of life. This is an important point as you continue to read further. My question here is …. What is real? What is truth? How much of what happens to us is our own imagination? Maybe nothing is real ….).

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