Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tornado Pummels Goodman School

by Pa Rock
Former Goodman Student

I'm not completely off the grid, but the fact that I don't have access to television as a news source means that I occasionally miss a story that that otherwise would have consumed my attention had I known about it.  That chicken came home to roost last night when a friend at the weekly pinochle game started talking about the big tornado that had hit the little town of Goodman in extreme southwest Missouri on Tuesday night.  He added that the town's elementary school had been destroyed in the storm.

That left me sputtering.  I get ninety-percent of my news from the Internet and the rest from our little daily newspaper, and nowhere had I heard about the Goodman tornado.  Having lived in and around Goodman from the age of four until I was ten - and having attended the school there from first through fourth grade - I had a lot of my personal history mixed in with the debris left by the tornado.

The sirens went off here in West Plains on Tuesday night, nearly two hundred miles east of Goodman, but I slept through them.  Fortunately, all our area got was a lot of wind and rain.

But Goodman, of course, was not spared.  Today I have been scoping out the damage on various Internet sites, and it does look as though my old elementary school took a direct hit.  That school became part of the Neosho School District back in the big consolidation push of the 1960's, and I was an administrator with Neosho Schools in the early 1990's.  That job, as well as a later position with the State Children's Division, brought me back to the old Goodman School on numerous occasions.

At one point several years ago while I was living and working on Okinawa, I posted mini-biographies of my first three teachers at the Goodman School on this blog.  Those hard-working and dedicated teachers were Helen Hubbard (1st grade), Cora Gum (2nd grade), and Melva Foley (3rd grade).  Those ran in July of 2011 and are still posted on The Ramble if any former students would like to go back and add their comments.

Mother Nature gives every area its cross to bear, and here in the Midwest we have grown accustomed to the savagery of floods and tornadoes.  They are a part of who we are and help to shape our resilience and resolve.  Nevertheless. it's hard to be truly prepared for something as devastating as a tornado.

Godspeed in your recovery, Goodman.  May your teachers and students (and parents) find the strength to navigate through temporary quarters for the next few weeks, and may those school bells be pealing proudly as a rebuilt facility opens in the fall!

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