Continuing Coverage of Tornado Outbreaks in North Texas

Cleburne Woman Sifts Through Debris From Childhood Home

By Omar Villafranca
|  Friday, May 17, 2013  |  Updated 12:05 AM CDT
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An EF-3 tornado destroyed several brick homes in Cleburne Wednesday night – including Geraldine Williams' childhood home.

Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News

An EF-3 tornado destroyed several brick homes in Cleburne Wednesday night – including Geraldine Williams' childhood home.

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An EF-3 tornado destroyed several brick homes in Cleburne Wednesday night – including one woman's childhood home.
 
Scattered in between the bricks and the downed trees are damaged and dented pieces of Geraldine William’s childhood from her family’s lakefront home on Lakeshore Drive.

 
Repair men and salvage crews now surround the property.
 
Williams is left rummaging through memories. The orange Karmann Ghia her dad drove to drop her off at school. Her brother’s college track trophy. Her Nancy Drew books and dolls her parents stored in the guest room.
 
“It’s devastating. It’s been ravaged,” Williams says while sifting through the debris.
 
Williams walked NBC 5 through what’s left of the house. The roof on the second floor is gone. Carpet was ripped off the floor. Mattresses were stripped of their sheets and thrown hundreds of feet through the roof and into the back yard.
 
Williams walks around the home in shock. Like every grownup that goes back to their childhood home, certain objects spark a memory. But now, those objects are wet and scattered in a debris field in the backyard.
 
“This is my bedroom,” she says, pointing to a roofless room. The bed is overturned. The wallpaper is peeled off. The support beams for the ceiling are still there.
 
“The fan is still there, but everything else is ravaged,” she says.
 
Downstairs didn’t fare any better. The living room ceiling was ripped down. The furniture that isn’t damaged is soaked with water. A painting of a flower is still mounted on the wall – the storm didn’t move it an inch.
 
“It's just weird, it's so indiscriminate,” Williams says pointing to the picture. “Look, that picture is hanging. Everything in the china cabinet was intact, but then look at my dad's study, it just went ‘poof’.”
 
Her dad’s study, filled with the medical books of a man who spent more than 20 years as a pediatrician in North Texas, is a pile of crumbled bricks, books and creased roof standing about 4 feet tall.
 
Williams says she still can’t believe that her childhood home is gone. But she’s keeping things in perspective. Her parents, who still live in the house, were out of town. 
 
Their home is destroyed, but their lives were spared.
 

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