By Mr. James Schneider

What were you doing in Lubbock in May 1970?

I arrived in Lubbock in March, 1970 in order to do further research on Buddy Holly, which included meeting with other (Holley) family members and people associated with his early career, as well as staying at Lubbock for trips to Clovis (New Mexico) Amarillo, Plainview, Canyon/Good Night, etc. At first, I checked-in and stayed at the Rocket Motel (Ave Q) then took a three-month rental on a furnished unit of a duplex on Elkhart not far from 19th and Slide Road. I then rented an office at the (then) Executive Center @ 1717 Avenue K from the lovely Mrs. Porter, for example, she even led me to the man who had once sold Buddy and crew the newer tires (on credit)initially to get them to Nashville. Then it happened...

What do you remember from the night of May 11, 1970?

I had returned to my apartment about 5:30 PM (1730) on 11-May-1970. I prepared and ate dinner,then sat and typed-up more pages for my project, then sat in a large lounger to watch some T.V. As I remember,there was some wind and light rain, then it became very still, I thought little of it, simply because I had asked my landlord (Mister Dillon) about Tornadoes and he said:{quote} " Don't worry about that, Tornadoes NEVER hit us here, always out there. " {un-quote} Then I remember the T.V. station showing some kind of crude " weather radar " , then a man came on the screen, it seemed he was quite panicked and said: " There's a Tornado on the ground in Lubbock! " ( that was the FIRST one ) By this time, there was severe noise outside the door, rain, hail, and noise I have never experienced before or since (and never want to again)

What was your reaction to the destruction you saw in the days following the storm? Did the storm damage your home, workplace, or school?

The next morning, I attempted to get back to Avenue K hoping to find my files somewhat intact (they were). I was detoured several times (had to show I.D.) because of the glass, and debris in the streets, especially downtown, and some of those "Emergency" vehicles with flat tires due to the same. Driving through that carnage reminded me of the total destruction of the city of Hue in South Vietnam after TET. (I was a member of the First Air Cavalry) I also remember the Pizza Hut sign: "Gone With The Wind." The wonderful people of Lubbock who still had running water and had signs on their outdoor taps that read as "Free Water, Help Yourself" Above all, the people of this West Texas town that held out after this evil from nature came to pay a visit. Yes, there was hail damage to my almost new VW (1969) BUT, it's only metal, not human. The roof and front hood were well-dented from what the insurance agent (back in California) said: " That must've been one hell of a hail-storm!" Yeah, I'm born and raised in the "Earthquake Country" of California. We have the fires ,mud-slides, flooding, all the rest of it, BUT, I have never experienced anything like a Texas Tornado, and I never want to again. If it had been daylight, and people could have seen the size of that second series of funnels, we all would have met our end simply by keeling over from the sight.

Did you know anyone who was injured or killed by the tornado?

No, I do not, but I do remember later reading (in a New Mexico newspaper) about the people in that church and the little boy sucked right out of that car during the carnage.

Did you or anyone you know help with the emergency response or cleanup following the tornado? What was your role? Explain.

No. The local Police told me to go home and stay in-doors or around the property unless I was needed so they contact me further.

How did the tornado experience change you? How did it change the City of Lubbock?

Upon my departure (the very next day) I did see a tall building downtown that was actually twisted, it-seemed halfway up, from the fury of that Tornado. I was expecting a package via the bus station which was still operating, but the damage to the terminal (front wall) was very evident, as was the damage almost everywhere downtown, and outbound. Driving down several streets, due to detours, I could not believe that just the day before, those businesses and establishments in the city of Lubbock had been functioning as normal, not forgetting to mention the homes that were destroyed. I think I saw a lumber yard (virtually un-touched) but nearby is what appeared to have been a store totally gone, except for the sign. To the wonderful, friendly, and giving people of Lubbock, Texas, my thoughts will always be with you. Thank you for letting me post here, but in addition, for our Mister Dillon:... YOU were WRONG!