When Phones Don’t Ring

The first time the phone rang after it happened, we all jumped. 
For hours, you couldn’t get a dial tone on our phone, a land line, the only kind of phone anyone had back then.  All you could hear was static.
yellow wall phoneAnd then about midnight out of the blue, it rang. I jumped to pick up the mustard yellow phone mounted on our kitchen wall.
It was one of my friends who lived across town, calling to see if we were okay.  The minute she heard my voice, I could hear the tears in hers.
She had been trying to get through since the tornado hit around six o’clock that evening.
That was the only time our phone rang for the next several weeks because the storm took out phone lines and electricity all over town.  But at least we still had walls for phones to be mounted on.  Many of my friends didn’t.
Other people tried to call to see if we were okay, but they couldn’t get through.  And in those days, there was no such thing as a cell phone. 
There was no Facebook. No Twitter.
You just had to wait to see if the people you loved were okay.
Or you got in your car and drove to find them.
Like some of my family from Oklahoma did.
They piled in their station wagon and drove as far in to town as they could, before the debris blocking the roads was so bad that the National Guard wouldn’t let them continue.
And then they got out and walked the rest of the way to our house.
We were just fine.  Our house hadn’t been hit.  But they didn’t know that.
So they came to see for themselves.
I won’t ever forget that.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. nathan day says:

    i remember your stories in your class and seeing your slide show from the tree in your neighbors pool with people sitting in chairs around the pool with the tree sitting in the middle. i remember your story of your dad taking one last look before joining you and your mom in the closet in your home while the storm was happening. i remember you saying that it looked like he had seen a ghost with all the things twisting about in the air. you at that time made such a positive impression on me as you always continue to do. i respect you in so many ways. i respect your ability to love and write so well. i respect to this day, the opportunity i had to be your student at wylie. such an honor always! lots of love to you sally. lots of love. nathan day

    1. sallygary says:

      Wow, Nathan, I’m honored that you remember those stories! And it was my pleasure to have you as a student at Wylie. I’m so thankful that we’ve stayed in touch all these years – I treasure that, because students hold a special place in my heart. You surely do, Nathan. Thanks for reading – and writing.

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