I suppose that as long as there are March 3rds, I’ll do at least one blog a year. It seems I’ll never forget the date of March 3, 1966. Because of this, I feel compelled to re-post these musings.
(re-posted from last year and the year before and the year before, mutatis mutandis) I remember being in the our front yard one afternoon after school on Marwood Dr. in Jackson, MS. One of my older brothers had had his telescope out looking at the cloud formations. It began to rain so my brother scooped up his telescope and he and I ran into the house. I sat down to watch television. It was about 4:30. We had a window over the kitchen sink that looked out into our carport. Suddenly, the rain and wind became so intense that the view from the window became obscured even though it was protected by the carport ceiling. Then the power went off. That was always frightening to a child, even in the afternoon. Then another brother came running into the den area where we were with our mom. (My youngest brother had been asleep on the couch.) Dad was away on one of his out-of-state business trips. My brother was yelling, “It’s a tornado! It’s a tornado!” None of us knew exactly what to do. The kids wanted to just jump in the car and flee but none of us knew exactly where to flee to. Before we had time to really gain our composure (being only 10 years old, perhaps I was the only one who was actually panicked) the storm had passed. There was an errie calm that set in as we began to hear the scream of sirens. The tornado had passed at least a statue mile from our house and we sustained no damage. It was not so for the Candlestick Park Shopping Center. Some sources say 13; others say 19 were killed in the shopping center. More were killed as the tornado tracked eastward across other parts of Mississippi and Alabama. Over 300 were injured. After the twister devastated Candlestick Park, it hit a power sub-station (which is what made our power go off). It then followed along Cooper Road for several hundred yards and lifted up, skipping over downtown Jackson. Another brother of mine (I have four) watched the storm from his office window in a downtown sky-scraper (or what would pass as one in those days). The duration of the afternoon and into the night was filled with the sounds of cars rushing to take the injured to the hospital. Someone came to our door and asked if we had a thermos he could borrow to render aid to the rescue teams. We sat around our kitchen table listening to a transistor radio. I was a Beatle fan. I heard for the first time their new hit “Nowhere Man.” Needless to say, every time I heard that song for many years after, it always took me back to those eerie and frightening feelings of that day. Finally, in what seemed like forever, our power came back on at about 10:00 that evening. We all hugged. It was Thursday, March 3, 1966.