May 2014 · My Writing

The Survivor


The Survivor
The Survivor

The SurvivorA True Story
     by I am J

You stood alone amidst all the rubble,
that long, hard day of heartache and trouble.

It was March 18, 1925,
When tornadoes took
So many lives.

Just that morning- like so many others,
You were filled with a brush
And shaving lather.

Your owner was happy, a husband and father.
He loved his wife, his son, and his daughter.

By afternoon, his life was over.
He lay dead on the ground protecting his daughter.

His wife was trapped. They cut off her arm.
But his son and his daughter suffered no harm.

All was lost of what once was his home.
No pictures.  No “things.” Nothing he owned.

Except there in the rubble, alone and untouched,
As if mocking the wind with its lethal thrust,
You sat alone atop all the debris.
A memory – a tribute – to a man –
Samuel Key.

Still Nearly Perfect
Still Nearly Perfect

Everything I’ve written above is true.  Samuel Key died March 18, 1925, in Princeton, Indiana, on the deadliest day of tornadoes still on record.

Tornadoes ripped through three states leaving over 600 people dead and thousands injured and homeless.  It is known as the Tri-State Tornado.

My mother-in-law, a very tiny girl, was trapped beneath the body of her dead father, Samuel Key, as he lay protectively on top of her.

Ironically, this shaving mug, which to this day is still in near-perfect condition, is all that was left of their home in Princeton, Indiana, one deadly day in 1925.

For more information about that historic and tragic day, here are some interesting articles:

Princeton Tornado

Worst in History

Images from 1925 Tornadoes


2 thoughts on “The Survivor

    1. Truly, Nancy, a sad day for so many people. Yet even sadder is the fact that still today, so many people are experiencing similar stories of triumph and tragedy. Yet even in that midst of such tragedy, there are beautiful stories of hope and “transcendence.” Thanks for your comment.


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