Tuscaloosa tornado

Wednesday was an awful day. My last history class ever and then school was closed for possible bad weather. It really screwed up my plans for the week so I came home rather irritated.

Later on in the day, I was watching tv and again was rather irritated that all that was on was weather. There was beautiful sunshine outside and I do get irritated when James Spann won’t let it go! But as the day progressed and I began to see that a storm really was coming, I paid more attention. Then I saw the storm headed for Tuscaloosa and I sent a text to my son Jon, telling him to turn on the tv and keep an eye on things. And then I saw it, the actual video of a tornado headed straight to him. I again sent a text telling him to get in the tub with a pillow to hold and his bike helmet on! Now I must say, I wanted him safe but I also wished I could see a picture of him in that position! Too funny! But back to the seriousness of the situation.

He sent texts back that he was seeing the same video and was being careful. I fretted and fretted until the storm was passed and he sent a message saying he had lost power, had heard the storm but was safe. I did not know the whole truth until later.

My son is about to graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in journalism. Although I have known it for a long time, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that he realized he was a journalist to the core. To prove that point and to prove he is the luckiest kid I know I will tell you “the rest of the story.” While I thought he was in the tub with a crash helmet on, he was outside videoing the tornado as it approached and uploading it straight to youtube. He was the first to get it on line so CNN and MSNBC contacted him and picked it up! Then he ran to his apartment and stayed in the bathroom until it passed. We all know that it was a dangerous thing to do but he tried to be as safe as possible having just studied tornadoes in a geography class that week. But I know as a journalist he could be stuck in dangerous situations again and I have to trust his common sense and instincts. He is a smart kid!

The next day he decided to come home, school was closed and he was still without power. The drive was slow and dangerous. While trying to find a way out of town Jon was contacted by the sports radio station he used to intern for. They wanted his comments. It just so happened during that time they were simulcasting with the BBC and they talked to Jon for about 5 minutes, including an interview with a very proper, British speaking chap. The interview went around the world.

As when Jon was in the right place to get information about Auburn that he wrote up and got out first, subsequently to have it picked up by USA Today, he was just in the right place at the right time but in a very bad situation. I am proud of him for being an unflinching journalist but as a mom I will be holding my breath a lot in the future, I can tell!!

He got home safely and now he and Tim are going to Sam’s for supplies and then headed back to Tuscaloosa. They are taking water and other aid to a friend’s church there and then going by Jon’s apartment to check things out, get some clothes and then back to Homewood.

A rough few days but not nearly as bad as it could have been, and not nearly as bad as it is for some families. Pray for the people who have lost so much all over the southeast.


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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.