Oklahoma is my Home

May 22, 2013

in Confessions

When I was 3 years old my parents moved from Dallas, TX to Tulsa, OK. My mom called it Tulsa, Texas for at least 10 or 15 years because she missed Texas.

I grew up in Oklahoma. I have very few memories of living in Texas and I'm not even sure if the ones I do have are from actually living there or just going back to visit.

I grew up in Tulsa. When I graduated from high school I left Tulsa for Norman and the University of Oklahoma where I because a Sooner, born and bred. I was still living in Norman on May 3, 1999 when another devastating tornado tore through.

After college I drifted around the Oklahoma City area. I lived in Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Edmond, and Moore.

I have spent my entire life in the Tornado Corridor that Popular Mechanics named one of the 8 most dangerous places to live, right alongside Haiti and the African Lake of Death.

On May 2, 2002 I was living in Oklahoma City. That tornado came so close I could hear it from my closet. In proper Oklahoman fasion, I was outside on the front porch shooting video when it touched down about a half mile away and the power flashes started.

That's what Oklahomans do. We take cover when we need to, but jump right back up and keep going.

There is a viral video going around of a woman finding her dog in the rubble of her home. (For those of you who don't speak Okie, a stool is a toilet.) The reporter from CBS asked her if she had even started to understand what happened here. Her response was, "I know exactly what happened here!"

And we do. We start from very young with tornado drills in school. Go into the hallway by the lockers, kneel down in a little ball, and put your hands over your head. All in a line just like that.

We know more about weather than the average person. In college, I helped a lot of people in their introductory Meterology classes who had come from out of state to study at the number one meterology school in the country. And I wasn't even taking that class! We know inflows and wall clouds, and updrafts. We know the names of every county and every small town. We even know what the air smells like if a storm is coming that may produce a tornado.

My kids know that when I say there is a storm coming, leave your shoes on, it means it's time to watch the weatherman.

But it's not just about tornados. It's also about people who move in from out of state and make fun of us when we say we aren't going out to drive in 3 inches of snow. Until they realize it's 1/2 an inch of snow over 2 1/2 inches of ice.

It's about the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Trail of Tears, the Land Run. Oklahoma has a rich history, and it's not all pretty.

Every spring people from all over the country flock to Oklahoma to chase storms because they are drawn by the beauty and power of nature.

And what they find is that a tornado can only feel at home in Oklahoma because that same beauty and power is found in her people.

Nothing proves this more than the tradegy in Moore. My old town. My old home destroyed.

Over the past two days I have had a lot of people checking to make sure I am safe. And I am. My family is safe. But my heart is broken.

I work for a company that owns several small town newspapers as their social media specialist for Oklahoma. I spent Sunday night and Monday night on social media reporting the storms. Reporting the devastation. 

I managed to hold it together and do my job.

Until Tuesday morning. When I dropped the boys off at school. I was flooded with thoughts of those children at Plaza Towers Elementary. I was taken back to May 3, 1999 when a friend of mine and I jumped in a car and drove the 5 miles to Moore to find our friends. Make sure they were ok. Because we had no cell service. No phone service. No internet. No tv. 

And I hurt. I hurt for all those people who lost everything. I hurt because I never want to drop my boys off at school and never bring them home again. I hurt because I don't understand why these things happen and I would hurt even if I did. I hurt because in the midst of all the tradegy, a woman who finds her dog can say God answered all her prayers.

When people ask me where I'm from, in the past I have always answered truthfully, but disdainfully. I'm from Oklahoma. No, it's not cool like NYC or hip like LA or cultured like Chicago or Boston or Seattle. No I don't like country music. No I don't drive a truck and no I don't live in a teepee or a log cabin. No, I don't have a horse. No, I'm not a Republican.

What the past two days have taught me is that I am proud to live here. I am proud that I live in a state where people are friendly. I am proud to live in a state that has everything from farmland to oil to museums from plains to forrests, from creeks to rivers.

I am proud to come from a state that can pull together, hurt together, rebuild together.

I am proud to be an Oklahoman.





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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.


Larks May 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm

This was a great post. I learned a lot and teared up a bit. Very emotional and informative. My heart goes out to you and the rest of Oklahoma.

that cynking feeling May 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

This was a very moving post.

Cheryl T May 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

This was an amazing post! I can't even begin to imagine the devastation from the most recent tornado, but I believe you capture the resiliency of your state and your community beautifully. My thoughts are with you as you greive and once again, begin the process of rebuilding.

Karen May 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm

This is beautifully written.

Robbie May 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I grew up in Oklahoma too so I totally get this. 

TriGirl May 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

What a beautiful tribute to your home.

carol May 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

Beautifu post! And so inspiring. I'd be proud to call Oklahoma my home, too.

Miriam Gomberg May 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

I only drove through Oklahoma once for a day. It must be scary but beautiful and thrilling each time a storm hits. We get wind in Nevada but it all blows in the same directions so I can't even fathom a tornado. Thanks for sharing your home state with us. M

Dyanne @ I Want Backsies May 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

Very well said. I live in Joplin, and I know exactly what you're talking about. Stay safe – more storms forecast today!

Lindsey May 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Were you in the path of the Joplin tornado? Are things getting back to normal yet?

Alishia May 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm

beautiful post! I was born and raised in Lawton Oklahoma so I have those same memories peaking through my childhood.  So right about how we Oklahomans know when to stand on the porch to watch the clouds and when to tuck into the center room of the house.  I still have family in Lawton and Duncan and was watching the news through out it all. Stay strong Oklahoma, the land and the people know how to bend with the wind and will always come back a little stronger.

Stacey June 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Beautiful post. My cousin and his family live in Oklahoma so much of what I have seen has come from them.

Kat June 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Wow, this was enlightening and heart breaking all in one swoop. I'm so glad you shared it!

Rose Marie B June 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Perfect post about Oklahoma, I really enjoyed it! 

Charlene Ross June 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes. And I also loved that woman on TV who said, "I know exactly what happened." She reminded me of my grandmother. And to have lost everything and say all her prayers were answered because she and her dog were safe?… Well, being an Oklahoman is an amazing thing indeed!

Karrie June 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

I was born and bred in OK and will die Sooner red. I have lived in MN for 12 years and would rather drive on any amount of snow as opposed to even a smidge of ice. Thank you for your wonderful, heartfelt post about this great state that we love!

Jackie June 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

WONDERFUL post!! Made me cry. I'm from Kansas.. and feel the same way about my state. It made me so frustrated when people from California were screaming about there not being tornado shelters in those schools, and being mad that they hadn't cancelled school that day. They just don't know what it is to live in tornado alley, and that we'd be cancelling school the entire last month of school if we did it every time the threat of a tornado arose. I love that you wrote this post, and shared your pride, and love for Oklahoma. One last thing… I lived in NYC for many years… and I'm much more proud to now say I'm from Kansas… it means something. 🙂

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