In Mum's Words

This is an email my Mum wrote to me when I asked what happend that day.
Subject : Re: Big Winds Date : Tue, 28 Oct 2003 10:03:18 -0500 Dear Ted
Dad and Mum About 1978
Dad and Mum 1978 at their home on the Bruce Penninsula
Hear it Here

Yes the new house was built on the same site. A few feet wider and longer . Can't recall exact dimensions They were narrow lots The old house was of wood with faded wood siding. Went in the front door and stairs went from narrow hall up to bedrooms . Living room was through door on left and through it to dining room. Narrow hall in front went on through to kitchen. There was also a door from kitchen into dining room . Upstairs three bedrooms. One grandma and grandpa Wheeler had, one dad and I had and a little one for Peter's little bed He was only two. You, who were four months had a little carry cot I brought you in from England. It sat beside the bed on a little table. You also had a pram we bought soon after I arrived. The tornado was 17th June , a Monday, Grandma Wheeler had gone into Aunt Florrie's in the morning when Grandpa went into the legion, [He was steward] which meant he looked after the bar, the supplies, the bookings etc. It was used very extensively in those days. There was an auxiliary meeting that evening and grandma and Aunt Florrie were very involved.

The day of tornado had very odd weather I had put out washing and take it in two or three times as it would start to rain then quit. All the gifts from the huge party they had given for Dad and I on the Sat evening were set out on the buffet in the dining room. Nearly a hundred people had been there Fifty or so gifts.

First chance I had had to make a meal as Grandma felt she was the one. So I had ventured my very first upside down cake [peach] and it sat in glory in the dish on the centre of the stove top .Potatoes green beans in their saucepans; meat in big fry pan. You fed [nursed and put to bed upstairs and I watching with Peter for Dad walking from Howard avenue bus. He came and hugged and we went into kitchen for his cup of tea and to serve up supper. You were crying and although I wanted you to get used to sleeping when put to bed Dad had not seen you all day so I said "Okay go pick him up" and dad did . Yes by the way Faith was with us through all this. She was five but in those days in Canada kids didn't go to school until 6. As Dad was holding you I said "It's getting very windy will you shut that pantry window". The pantry was a little narrow room off the kitchen and behind the dining room. So Dad said "here hold your baby" and went to shut the window [which faced down 3rd concession, as it was then, to Howard Ave.] He saw the railway cars on the old turntable being blown off and the poles and trees on the road being blown over. He swung round grabbed Faith against him between us I had Peter on the side of me and you in my arms. He yelled for gods sake lie down . And that is honestly the last we ever remembered until we picked ourselves up where the garage had been .

Mrs Oke was screaming for help. My clothes were all torn and just rags so was Faith's dress. You guys were alright I had a slight burn mark between my knees and a slight cut on my forehead. Dad had a slight scratch on his face. Grandma Oke was buried under the rubble of both houses but emerged with barely a scratch and lived to almost 90. Dad stayed and helped get her out. I took you three and climbed over all the trees and rubble up to the Marentette house. We called Aunt Florrie and she came and got us after a while. Mrs. Marentette gave me an old house dress and little blankets for you. We all bunked in with Aunt Florrie for a few days then people on Langlois gave us room at their house. They were an older couple and so good to us. Their name totally escapes me at the moment There thats it for now. Windsor had acres of clothes collected for Europe, post war. They let the tornado victims go help themselves to what they needed. There were 17 people killed that day in Windsor area. The tornado came across in Sandwich South and swept around the outside of the city and across Walker Road down the 3rd con. I had bought English saving certificates for Peter in England that booklet was picked up at Walker farms and I have a picture from the Star when we went to collect them.

Mrs Oke and I got to appeal on the radio for the tornado fund . Both The Wheelers got tornado money to furnish the house. The dining room set, that Janet has, was bought with ours, plus a bedroom and kitchen set. Grandma bought their bedroom and the living room stuff.  All for now any more needed let me know I do have the original picture of Pete getting his certificates back from the Windsor star. God Bless Love you Mum