Often I look back over my life and I think, “Wow, He even loved me back then and was watching over me!”
One particular incident was on my 19th birthday. At that time I had not accepted the Lord as my personal savior, which happened 13 years later. (I have always had a stubborn streak) Little did I know that He loved me and had a hand on my life even back then. Thank God, my step grandpa was praying for me throughout my life.
It was a typical day, March 12, 1976, my birthday. I had recently started working in the office at Borg Warner Automotive Division in Franklin Park, IL. It was only about 3 miles from home.
Lunch at home with my Dad (retired due to health issues) was my usual routine. Today, however, a couple of the girls talked me into grabbing lunch with them and bringing it back to the office. It was my birthday so I figured why not?
They let me choose, and of course I picked hotdogs. I know, I know, a lot of you say HOTDOGS? If you did it is obvious you have never had a Chicago style hotdog! Nothing like them… beef hotdog on a sesame seed bun with mustard, onions, relish, and a couple of hot sport peppers topped with fresh cut French fries, all wrapped up in a couple thin sheets of paper. When you unwrap it you take your fries off, you find the peppers and squeeze a little juice over your dog, or if you are brave you tuck them in and eat it all. “MMM I can almost smell them now! Did I tell you I love Chicago Hot Dogs?” Oh wait that wasn’t what I was posting about…. sorry couldn’t resist!
We called our order in and one of the girls ran over and picked it up. When she returned she mentioned that there was quite a storm brewing. We sat and ate and laughed. Then someone yelled “Come here you’re not going to believe this!” All of us jumped up and ran to the window. It had started raining, a downpour, then hail, big golf ball sized hail and then just as quick it stopped. Then it turned a yellowish-green, and the wind started blowing. Did I mention we were on the 2nd floor of an 80% glass building?
We were located by Interstate 294 just off Wolf Road at the edge of an Industrial Park. Of course everyone was talking at once, but the longer we stood there the quieter we got. Seeing roofs ripped off buildings and then destroyed has that effect, all we could hear was an occasional gasp or cry. Cars were picked up off the interstate and flung here and there, electrical poles were falling like dominoes as fire and sparks shot out everywhere.
I think we were all in shock, not one of us thought about the danger we were in, not one of us took shelter. After about 10 minutes we all gathered downstairs in the warehouse break room. They needed a head count to see if anyone was missing. Over the radio they asked that everyone stay put so emergency vehicles could get through. Several of the men set out on foot to see what kind of damage there was and offer help where needed.
About 45 minutes later one of the men returned to give us a report. He said it was bad, real bad. They were asking everyone to stay off the roads until 3:00. He also told us that the big Jewel/Osco office was demolished; they were pulling people from the rubble. My heart dropped, my cousin worked there. I remember praying that day, not my usual back then. I found out later, she took refuge under her desk, they had to remove cement blocks for her to get out. He had also heard that a lot of the homes close to the cemetery were gone. We lived a block away from the cemetery and my dad was there.
Driving home that afternoon was unnerving. I had to take a different route. The main road in front of the cemetery was closed. As I drove slowing trying to find an open road, it was like driving through a war zone. There are no words to describe what I was feeling. I had to turn several streets past ours, and then make my way back.
My heart dropped when I seen our metal shed crumpled into a ball outside the hedge by the road. I was so relieved to see the house was still standing. Dad was as glad to see me as I was him. Mom made it home an hour later relieved to see we were ok. It was really strange the shed that was crumpled by the road, the locked doors were never found. My bicycle was still parked where the shed had been, along with a few other items. Nothing was missing, and nothing was messed up. We were lucky, our fence was down and several shingles were blown off the roof, but there were families that lost everything.
It could have been bad, one of the funnel clouds came through the gates of the cemetery crossing Wolf Road at 12:20 leveling several homes. If I had been on my normal routine, I would have been passing the cemetery at 12:20 on my way back to work. At that time in my life I was not a child of God, but I did Thank Him for keeping me safe. Back then I just did not realize how much He loved me!
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:4-5
7 months ago