Tornado (a bit of Cleveland, Ohio history)

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by LostInTyme, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. LostInTyme

    LostInTyme New in Town

    I can’t say I remember everything, but some memories never leave your mind. It was summer, 1953. One year later, Doctor Sam Sheppard’s wife was killed, supposedly by a one-armed man, in Bay Village, Ohio. Dr. Sam was later convicted for the murder, and even later paroled and exonerated for the crime. Some other time, a television show, “The Fugitive” was loosely based upon the Sam Sheppard Case.

    The tornado occurred in mid summer, in Cleveland, Ohio. At that time, we were living in Parma, but the tornado ran right down the street that we had previously lived on. Dale Avenue, a street that ran between West 105th street and West 117th street. The house right next to our old house had the front completely ripped off. I could see right into the bedrooms of the kids whom I had played with. I don’t know to this day if those friends survived that tragedy. I was seven at the time. Friends of my parents, Willie and Sue, as I knew them had the side of their house torn off and all their belongings were sucked out of the house. Willie and Sue had hidden in the fruit cellar, in the basement and survived the great storm without a scratch.

    They told me that the wind sounded like a great freight train running above them. There was much devastation throughout Cleveland’s West Side. Places I had been and parks I had played at were leveled.

    The main storm never reached our home in Parma, just wind, hail and rain.

    Forward three years, now 1956. We moved back to Cleveland, now living on West 129th Street. That summer, another storm blew through the West Side. No one ever declared it as a tornado, but it wrecked equal or greater damage to the West Side. That night, we (my family) were at a wedding reception for my Aunt Sharon and soon-to-be Uncle Don. The party was being held at a Great Aunt and Uncle’s house somewhere in the west 80’s streets, north of Lorain Avenue. I was sitting outside with my second cousin, a young girl. I can’t remember her name these days, but I do remember she was two or three years older than me. She held my hand, and asked me if I was scared. Being the man I was, at the great age of 10, I said no, but I was lying. It scared the living hell out of me.

    This time, we lost a tree in front of our house on West 129th. There was no damage to the house, however. This storm blew south out of Cleveland into Brookpark and Parma. Federal’s Department store burnt down and the roof of the Lyceme Theater collapsed. Two of my cousins narrowly escaped the collapsing roof and ceiling in the theater.

    Forward to 1968. At this time, I am living in Lakewood, Ohio renting the upper half of a double house on Edanola Avenue. While working on a 1932 Ford Roadster in the detached garage, the sky turned black and huge raindrops bombard me, golf ball sized hail, sticks and other wind-blown debris. I hid behind the car in the garage. A big storm, later determined to be straight-line winds blew in off Lake Erie during the 4th of July Celebration. Several people were killed while attempting to hide under trees at Lakewood Park.

    Two years later, in the summer of 1970, I met a girl who later became my wife. Since meeting her, I haven’t had any storms in my life. Thank you Vija, you have calmed me, and the world around me.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
  2. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom One Too Many

    Vienna, Austria
    :):):) Nice story.
  3. When I was a teen & had a parttime job I became friends with a guy 12-15 yrs older than I. His wife had grown up in Ohio & knew all about the Sam Sheppard case. I had never heard of him. I believe he was out of prison & had started his pro wrestling career at that time. With his career & subsequent marriage(s) the man became a sad clown of his former self. I read the book & all the news clippings she had at the time.
  4. Hercule

    Hercule Practically Family

    Western Reserve (Cleveland)
    We just moved out of Lakewood (Nicholson/Clifton area about 2 blocks from the lake) and bought a house in Lyndhurst. Pretty tightly packed community back there, can't say that in the 15+ years in Lakewood we ever saw a truly devastating storm beyond a lot of trees down. (we always jockeyed our cars around to where a tree wouldn't fall on them) The power always seemed to go out at the slightest hint of bad weather though. The problem was that nobody ever seemed to know what the emergency siren meant. Should we go to the basement or not? (we never did, though kept a carrier on hand to scoop up the cat just in case)- it sounded just like the recordings from the London Blitz! Though quite often it didn't even sound until the weather was already on top of us.

    Neighbors spoke of a "tornado" that came through in the 70s but that was a history I didn't share so don't remember what they said about it.

    There was one storm in the 90s I somewhat fondly remember experiencing. I actually went to the end of the street to watch it come in off the lake. What was so memorable about it was that there was near constant lightning. Strangest, most captivating and awesome thing to see. It sure made me feel pretty small.
  5. LostInTyme

    LostInTyme New in Town

    When I lived in the area, it was always on the west side. Western Cleveland, Parma, Lakewood, Bay Village, and Westlake, then is was on to Pennsylvania, the commonwealth that is a lie.

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