Mary Lovell, age 9, remembers the exact words her mother said to her on Aug. 18, 2005.
“Honey, I love you; I think I’m going to die – there is a tornado coming at the house.”
And then the line went dead.
Mary’s mother Sally survived, though, and 14 years later they wrote a 117 page book of the day an F3 tornado devastated the northern part of the city.
The authors welcome the community to a book launch 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at the Stoughton Public Library, where they will give a brief summary of the book, encourage group conversation and answer any questions.
The book describes the moments before the tornado hit, when Mary, her brother Stephen and father Steve were at the Red Cross giving blood. Then the weeks later, when the Red Cross was at their doorstep providing food and water.
“I learned the concept of karma,” said Mary. “(My dad) showing his kids how to give back and then all of a sudden they were at my door with food and water. That was the biggest takeaway for me – the reciprocal nature of doing good in the world.”
A passage from the book includes the intense moments when Sally sat in her basement shower gripping her dog, Madi, while the tornado ripped through their home.
“Sally heard a constant thud of objects hitting the house and crashes from upstairs. The garage doors were pounding, and she could hear them fold under the pressure from the immense winds, almost as though the metal doors were giant pop cans being crushed. Windows were exploding. The ground beneath her trembled. The sound of a freight train whirled around above her.”, the passage read.
The title of the book “Glass Storm” comes from the glass that the family picked out of the grass, their home and their belongings for the long months after the disaster. Months later while unpacking boxes in their new home, the family would find glass scattered in their belongings.
“The glass is something you don’t think about,” said Sally. “The sound of glass. We used snow shovels to move pounds of glass in to bins and bags.”
Mostly, the authors wanted to write this book to recognize the heroism and goodness of people on that day. They remember neighbors, community members and service members helping to provide shelter, food and a shoulder to cry on.
“On that day and from that day on everyone did the right thing. It was incredible to see this community come together like that,” Sally said.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase for $15 at the book launch, with 20% of proceeds to be donated to the Friends of the Public Library. It will also be available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Orange Hat Publishing’s website Aug. 18 – exactly 14 years to the date of the tornado.