When disaster strikes; Operation repeat
This is a quiet street around our other quiet streets. The houses are new and neat. Not fancy small modest but you can tell their homes that people alone that they care for their yards are a little sparse but somebody has been working on them. This sounds just the usual sounds of a neighborhood children playing mothers busy with their chores fathers coming and going. Stores here and there and over yonder is the school. Nice sturdy looking brick building lakeview school of fine little community Lakeview. And if you're looking for an ordinary everyday low income community with solid substantial people who have to make their paycheck stretch if you're not well there's not much to see. Nothing on the face of it to you know make you want to take a second look. But take one. That's right. Take another look.
Look at the houses Lakeview has been here a long time. Doesn't it strike you as strange that so many of the houses are new look at the school it has a new roof some new walls lots of new windows. Look at the backyards Did you ever see so many storm cellars. Look at that housewife hanging out the family watch. She can hardly bend the clothes on the line for watching this guy. Look at that little boy crying they come in the house because the wind is blowing. Yes it might be a very good idea for all of us to take a second look at the Lake View. This asteroid. Radio television the University of Texas presents when disaster strikes a series of programs designed to show how present day Americans meet the crisis of a disaster situation. All over our nation. Social scientists are seeking through special studies to
find out how we as a people react to sudden widespread catastrophe. With the help of Dr. Harry Moore of the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas and the Hogg foundation for Mental Health we're going to share some of the things these scientists have found. When disaster strikes is produced and recorded by radio television and the University of Texas under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's program. Operation repeat. Or as. The. Us. And the and the. Lake View an
edition of the northwest part of San Angelo Texas that's the place which invites our concentrated attention. And here is Dr. Harry More director of disaster studies at the University of Texas to tell us why because twice in one year a catastrophe has looked upon this Lakeview community leaving death destruction and damage in its wake. On May the 11th 1953 a tornado swept through the area causing 11 deaths and bring two hundred fifty six people demolishing Two Hundred and Eighty homes and June of 1954. Another tornado barely missed the same section of San Angelo and route havoc through a very heavy hail and wind storm. It's estimated that 8000 people were affected by this second stop and property losses were estimated at more than two million four hundred thousand already. A research project had probed into the disorganized consequences of the face
this I asked where this long range of disturbing affects and many phases of social action. Our research staff had been tracing the marks of catastrophe upon the physical health of these people upon their mental health their financial and economic adjustment. A second catastrophe called for further study. Here was an unexpected opportunity to observe the actions of a population under extremely advice SECAM stances so closely following a major disaster that they had not yet fully recovered from the face blow. What happens to people when the lightnin so to speak actually does strike twice in the same place. These are questions we ask ourselves and then operation repeat. We went back once more to look for the answers may 11th 1953 San Angelo queen of the sheep country sprawling vulnerable and unprotected among the open Texas plains
for two days now all the atmosphere has been oppressive and easy to make. And so are the warnings that have assail the ears of San Angelo residents for almost 24 hours. God we interrupt this program to bring you a special weather bulletin. Residents of San Angelo are urged to be on the alert for heavy rains and winds of extremely high velocity. Tornado warnings are still out for San Angelo and vicinity. Stay tuned to this day bulletins continued from local radio stations. At 1:40 a tornado was sighted to the north west of town. Captain Ray Butler of the Texas State Highway Patrol sent four patrolmen and two cars racing to the suburb. Two o'clock the Department of Public Safety radio tower got the first report from the alert and prowling patrol cars. This white car. Door on the big spring highway to get from West over the radios over
loudspeakers the reports went out to warn the people of San Angelo message by message they try the tornado in the hall. Can't Miss Lake View. For blocks and blocks of modest houses frame most of them some perched precariously on wooden posts stood defenseless before the onslaught where 1000 students in the Lakeview school gathered in the last classes of the day. The wind rose in volume and the rain fell in gusty rhythms and of pressure. Still an awful presence for the school. In spite of the warnings in spite of the loud speakers in the radios. So many didn't know or didn't
realize. Started on out to school. And to me it. Looked like a big sandstone. There was so much dust in front of the clouds. You couldn't see. They were. Began to get so dark. But I still didn't realize it was a tornado. Then the wind began to blow. I still didn't realize there was anything happening. Why I knew it was too but. I didn't. When he didn't. Just. Storm struck the tornado pounds leaving no doubt. But. Steady and resourceful to protect their future. You know why. I'll bet we can sing louder than any aloof. 2010 or if we're all together this time. Good practice didn't say. I'm going. Marching to the Home children. As quickly
and quietly as you can. Get on the roof. Look to the back. I do fly flat on your face and the door made a world of self-pity Fiore upon the lake. The lady came and she taught us all of those aboard but the last embers ride through the holes torn by the wind and live on the wooden barrack story behind the school. The voices of reading first graders singing louder than the way. Thank you. Thank you. Thank. YOU THANK YOU. Wow. Then as quickly as it came the door later was gone. The children dazed and frightened but alive stood up in the rain the warden Torrens through the battered walls and ceilings of the main school building. Somebody shouted.
And from somewhere there came a call for help was. Oh. Oh. Oh oh oh. Thank you so much. Over in the flimsy barracks building that housed the primary grades Mrs. Hart where's Barry. You know where Barry is. God Arry is sitting at his desk. I'm sorry. Believe me I was so afraid I was sold. Do you know what's happened out there Mrs. Hart. Do you have any idea at all. In the thin wooden building miraculously spared it was hard to get an idea of what had happened out there. For there at 2:16 a thriving community had stood. At 2:30 barely fourteen minutes later looking beauty had virtually disappeared. The tornado had done its work with devastating thought and for 10 square blocks only chaos and destruction met the appalled eyes of those who would all be helped.
Shock survivors told the stories they themselves hardly believe they want to tell these stories again and again real living for themselves and others how they as one like new woman put it spent the time and I know we have a great many of these stories as they were told to our research staff from a few of them we have bar in the woods of authentic by snow experience for they tell is nothing else can. Why the marks of the deep. Why in Lakeview or you know the physical picture of rehabilitation available to a casual observer was not an accurate representation. And these stories can be saying the roots of emotional distress originating in the tornado and possessed and beyond the healing of a physical one. The rebuilding of a home. Let's listen to the people and I took one step toward the closet where Emily Ann was and I felt the floor buckling. It just seemed to rise up
and it took two more steps and made it to the closet and the like about six inches getting the door closed. When the tornado struck and then we were just in there. Emily and me back under them shelves. Of course we prayed. We did that. And when I looked up and saw the roof gone well I panicked for a second seem like my whole heart just stopped beating our house was broken right half into behind that closet. Well I'm telling you when I stepped out of that closet I felt like I was in a different world. I felt like I was all alone. I felt like my little girl and I was only people small islands of safety in a nightmare of destruction. A woman and child in the closet miraculously standing when the rest of the house is gone and a bathroom refuge. And I said well let's just get him to the bathroom because that was the furthest place we could get from where the glass was breaking. So we rushed into the bathroom and I tried to hold the bathroom door shut and my husband got the children down on the floor. He kept telling me to turn the door loose and get on the
floor. Now that Celeste I remember in the next town oh well the children were all crying and saying they were cold. And I looked up. There wasn't anything on. The whole house whatever their details are and all the stories these people tell the same thing. Home and belongings swept away and now and for many a race that's the threat the peril the shock the losses were common property the same thing it happened to so many. But behavior during the crisis seemed to be as distinctive as a personality is involved and emotional maturity was not always a matter of age. A mother for example might succumb to the hysteria and she still rebel me just scream in a play and as hard as I was both cried and asked while a high school boy stood so the teacher Put us boys to the doors when the girls would get scared. Some of us have had training she told us you know to help protect them.
And this girl was she was going to get out in spite of everything she was going to shove on past me and the other two guys so I slept or in Scouts they taught us that sometimes I would question them. And I told her to get under the desk like the teacher said and she did and the younger might find presence of mind enough even in riot gear. My little girl didn't get scared. I told her I said when I stepped careful there might be live wires. All these wires you know had blown over with the house that was on our house. I don't step on any live wires I said and I repeated that so much she said. Mother you sound just like a broken record. When I moved in she was. Yes. These make people defend him have reactions to the face shocked face another banjo. But when that was past their most important and immediate consign was not safety for self or fear of material lost about what we lost in the thought of
ourselves never ended on minds. We were just happy happy to have the children not heard another fail was swiftly submerged by concern for others children relatives neighbors even unknown fellow man. This overall lack of self-centeredness as the highlight a fact which is often overlooked and times of crisis. The old law of the jungle self-preservation has evidently been modified by a culture which stresses the value of loved ones as well as a more general value of human life. Over and above self. Over and over again we find this. And what they say ad and what they mean and all the houses were gone. Well I just knew mine wouldn't be there. I got up here within half a block of my home. My neighbor's house was blown across the street. I got out and I ran home and here come the girl that's 14 running out the door. She was crying up a storm and I said just a minute Trudy Where's Johnny resti Daddy she said. They're all right
there in the back. Well then I said what in the world are you crying for. If you're all right and she said I was crying about you daddy. We thought something terrible that happened to you. And the overall action immediately following the tornado the most frequently mentioned the most imperative from the point of view of those involved was intensive saging for a loved one. When we got close enough this way he could see that the house was gone. Well he was afraid to come here then. He didn't know what to do so he mess of our neighbors over there and he rode around with them. It wasn't till 5:30 that we found him. I think those two and a half hours that we looked for him were worse than the tornado. It seemed like that nerved me more than anything you know the next damn parlance was for those who needed help whoever they might be friends perhaps neighbors anyone in distress so I ran over and I said Miss Harold are you all right. So she said yes. Right. I got a woman in here giving her a bath. Well that's
right funny now I think about it. But it wasn't then the thing was this other lady lived over in the block behind Ms Harrell and it blew your house right over here. And she was in the bath tub and she come with the bathroom over here. Well she was out there in the yard and she was all black with mud. So Ms Harrell hollered at her and brought her in the house and was trying to bay the money off of her and this woman didn't even know where she was. Ms Harrell just kept talking to her and explain and try and often this waste to be have saved us reached out to those who were completely unknown to those who had been strangers. Then you say I left my little girl that's the young woman over there some friends went over to fire station. I got a raincoat had from one of the firemen that I went out to help people all afternoon and stopped cars known if there were many injured in a mud get a man alone would put the injured folks in him. I asked the farmer up there three or four days later is that while the world and make me sit on wrist or was limping around with my leg hurt and not even know wanted
all that mess all afternoon. He said he said well I tried to ask a fare out and you said you felt like a million dollars and he said I thought I knew about it felt like a million dollars after has been blown after Monday in a tornado watch is Les Malone he set off felt like you were doing all right. I felt like you were doing all right. That might very well sum up the way a casual observer thought about Lake View in the months following the tornado. Houses were repaired or reconstructed because shelter was imperative. More than two hundred fifty thousand dollars in financial assistance came from the American Red Cross and a local disaster fund. Rehabilitation was in large measure a do it yourself project and like you I had a great deal about it where we could live in it. We knew we had to get it so we could live because my husband had to take off from work and we didn't have any money. I just looked like man I never stopped. We take the scoop shovel and scoop the mud and lash out in which scrub and washing scrub. Nobody can imagine how much dirt there. Just to
get out and papered the walls and. Financially the town may go ahead because of the heavy burden for these families. Below average economic status but the same concern for those that have manifested itself in emergency aid. When Lakeview blew away we now reached out his hands eager to help in building it back helping hands from family members to worry about that. My husband's a bricklayer and my father is a cabinet maker so he made all the cabinets. So my family worked right here and they just do on their own you know spurred by necessity and their own invincible spirit aided by the generosity of others. The people of Lakeview put the community back together. On the face of things rehabilitation appeared to be progressing very well. Physically the Lakeview area looked much better. City authorities had seized the opportunity to give special save as their extension of water and sewage lines and street improvement on only a few foundations from which
no walls arose remained as reminders of the tornado. The new home to modernize schools about the streets gave the area of cleaned up. I look at it not have a you know there's no obvious concrete heritages from the tornado. We found in Lakeview but there were others not so readily visible. I guess maybe there's five or six fellows right here in these few blocks. It eases our mind a lot to know we can go to the cellar. Lots of folks feel that way. I know one of the teachers told me that if we ever if we ever got another warning she'd take her room her whole class to her cellar. Of course now I had one lady tell me she'd rather be in a tornado than in a storm cellar because she's afraid of snakes. Said well just give me a stick I can fight the snakes for an hour or two but I can't do nothing about a tornado. And there is strong evidence that far and large number of these people a tornado is not really over where the many effects remain and the place and now it is
of the residents and pervasive feeling towns and residues of tension anxiety ever forget it is just something you don't forget. Now Eddie here now they were just about three weeks this spring that if they were just the least breezy wouldn't stay outside. He played in the house all the time because he'd say the wind is blowing and I'd tell him Well if it's it is just a breeze nothing is going to happen just go on out and play. And he'd say well we didn't think a thing was going to happen when the tornado came either. And so he wouldn't go out. What if just do you think oh you know I'm always scanning the skies and I think I will be scared when the next cloud comes along. But I always am. We saw these effects and they're just not patterns of famine I have been nervous about sleeping not before. Now when a cloud comes up we won't go to sleep. Not any of us much we know that one of us is watching the clouds. If it's bad my husband usually goes to bed he says. Well I know you'll watch it so I'll go on to bed I have to work tomorrow. And the children they
depend on me to watch. So he can go on national after effects of the town I know in the adjustment. I don't have a teacher in the room these boys were in when the tornado happened. I go into the office to see if there were any reports. There was supposed to be a tornado and midline or Odessa or somewhere over there. The report was that it was heading this way. So when I came back there they were all huddled together in the back of the room. Well boys I said Why the hell don't let me in on it. And they said You mean you're not afraid. And that's what they were doing they were back there so they'd be prepared. They were going to squat right there where they were when the tornado hit. This was Lakeview in June of 1954 and then came the second storm two tornado funnels were seen to the west of the neighborhood but did not hit the thickly settled areas of the town. When velocities in Lake View reached 65 miles an hour. What did the second storm mean to the people who were still carrying with them the effects physical financial and
emotional from the 1953 tornado. It meant different things and spite of the fact that warnings had been issued frequently for 24 hours to three fourths of the lake the residents said came as a surprise and wades telephoned by family member perhaps are and you know those brought by the way on earth are you doing them is down again just a potent sprinkler on these clothes. Gotta get my arm in Mrs. Duncan for goodness sakes. How could you go ahead working with that bad looking cloud that's out there have a clue. Well let me sit on the porch and notice that right now it is black ink and you can see. The hate of rum going to ruin up there and for some a staunch spelled a definite threat to be met realistically and with proper caution. Hey mom was burning all that Sally memory thing at a birthday party. Well. The car keys. Those clouds up there in the mind of me. I'm going to go get it. That's a good idea honey. And then we'll all go to the cellar. No you doing what we did last time just
sat here and let it blow us and why. It doesn't blow them away this time. Not bodily but to some it blew away their hard won emotional control crime with their Monday night. I just couldn't keep from crying and I prayed with her and her just screaming Please God let it stop. He's God let it stop at at Baker Hush. That's the one thing you can't do or dad you try did your sister tried I tried I was for many an activated fear as they had not known and the town I know I was more scared than I was before the tornado because this time I was expecting something you know I mean the tornado came so suddenly you really didn't have time to get scared. But we were in the cellar this time and our son was working he wasn't here. The neighbors came over with us. They were all worried about their house tops and everything because of course they had their families right there but we didn't.
And that's what we were worried about our son was. Eight thousand people directly affected it meant more damage more destruction. Every time one of the pressing problems of reconstruction 30 minutes at allit was started the story began to leak pretty bad and we began to put up stock to keep from getting wet and went to the store to get buckets and when we stepped into the room when we did leak the roof in the water was standing in and the water had broke through the ceiling. The heel storm did more damage for us in the tornado did. Water was really were no deaths. Now only two injuries reported by local press the local radio and television stations played down the second storm locally and nationally. The 1953 tornado had been classified as a disaster probably because the two crises differed so in times of human suffering. The 1954 storm was not so classified to those in authority the second storm was simply severe weather.
The Lakeville once again surveying its losses this Don was something your most gave up. I thought well what's the use. Seems like every time we do have something bad like that it's always Lakeview of course due to the fact that we lost everything last year except our car and what we had on our back. I guess you'd say this time is nothing to what last time was. I guess you'd say the storm was insignificant compared last year too and it didn't look insignificant Monday afternoon. It looked pretty durn big Monday afternoon I can tell you that. Lake View couldn't tell us that. And lots of other things about recurring prices and what it does to the people involved. The findings of the social scientists are too numerous too complex to be presented to big softly in this program. But as Dr Harry even more will verify certain responses stand out one of the most heartening of these responses came in the words of a woman who played
a major role in both these crises. A woman who has her own philosophy about Operation repeat time in the stable. No need of your name. This storm. I was in one of my own I was. Down with that one. I was in one when I was quail and I got over that. And I was in one when I was 43. Years in your mind. You know. It got. To just. Just make up your mind. Don't let it. Get you. Got to have. Confidence that you're going. Down the wrong way. When Disaster Strikes. Radio television the University of Texas has brought you the second in the series of programs designed to show how modern Americans react to the crisis of a
- When disaster strikes
- Operation repeat
- Producing Organization
- University of Texas
- KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program focuses on San Angelo, Texas, the site of a 1953 tornado and a major 1954 storm. Aspects of adjustment and rehabilitation after the first crisis. what happens to people when "lightning strikes twice."
- Other Description
- This series focuses on disaster preparation, as well as the effects wrought by disaster.
- Public Affairs
- Tornado damage
- Media type
Composer: Page, Frances Eleanor
Director: Norris, R. C.
Guest: McGill, William L.
Narrator: Morriss, Jimmy
Producing Organization: University of Texas
Producing Organization: KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Speaker: Moore, Harry E.
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-15-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “When disaster strikes; Operation repeat,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0z710h6b.
- MLA: “When disaster strikes; Operation repeat.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0z710h6b>.
- APA: When disaster strikes; Operation repeat. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-0z710h6b