It’s been a very strange two weeks since we last “met” here. We’ve had our first significant snowfall, followed by an unseasonably warm weekend (a high near 70 degrees), and that is when things really got strange.
As most of you know by now, Illinois (especially Central Illinois) had a severe outbreak of tornados. Some of the worst of it just outside of Peoria, in Washington, Illinois. I have had my fill of tornados at the age of 12, when on April 21, 1967 I witnessed the massive destruction of the tornado that devastated Oak Lawn, Illinois. I will detail that experience in a future blog here. The strange thing about this past week was it is Mid-November. We Midwesterners are accustomed to more “predictable” tornado outbreaks in the spring. It’s almost become an eerie way of life for those of us who live here. That being said, as as many a news report has mentioned, it is much easier to rebuild early in the year with the warmer weather approaching than it is with the cold, winter months that are ahead.
My heart goes out to the families that have not only lost loved ones, but also their homes, memories and literally the roofs over their heads. News reports tell of families personal items being found 100 miles from the scene of the destruction. For some, these mementos may be some of the few memories some families have left to hold on to. There is a Facebook page dedicated to some of these items, literally an online Lost and Found. The link is here: Found items from the Washington Illinois and Diamond Illinois Tornadoes.
Marty has been posting links to relief and recovery pages here and I will do the same.
Information on how you can help and some other links can be found here: Washington IL Tornado Recovery page.
During that time, I was able to once again, venture out to a few of my favorite abandoned places. Not those destroyed in the blink of an eye by Mother Nature, but rather those that have somehow miraculously held up over the years, and as we know, that can prove to be difficult in the Midwest.
A few cars still cruised Illinois Route 55 over the past weeks, but those days are coming to an end as well. Strangely enough, some of my favorite places have been torn down in the past month. I set out to find a few others.
The shot of the Abandoned High School (with the child’s riding toy on the front steps) was shot in Dana, Illinois one week before another tornado touched down there during that day of outbreaks. In another abandoned building, a stack of old Country record albums fans out, decaying in the elements around it. Most of the leaves have changed color, and fallen from the trees, leaving a tapestry of Autumn colors that have carpeted the ground, their bare skeletons remaining.
Seasons change again, and as a result of last weekend’s bizarre weather, we, as people of Illinois have changed a bit as well, some more than others. With the holidays coming up, please reach out to those that need our help.
Over the past 23 years of my sobriety, I have learned to be grateful regardless of what is going on in my life, (and it has been filled with many changes), on the days other than Thanksgiving. That being said, I give you the latest series of photos as I see things through the camera lens. I wish a “Tryptophantastic” Holiday to all of you and your loved ones.
Be good to each other.