Twister survivor’s journey to solutions practically 50 years later
“And then it was to be underwater, gasping for air, being underwater, you just knew you were going to die,” said Moline. “Just crazy waves, debris still flying through the air, and I haven’t seen another living person. “
Disoriented and frightened, Moline and the other survivors began to understand the scene.
“We had nothing left. The hut was gone, everything straight from the foundation. The cars, the trailer, blew them all into the lake, ”said Moline.
12 people were killed in the outing tornado, including 7 of Moline’s friends and family. She lost her 62-year-old grandma Edith Dugan, her 19-year-old sister Becky, and her 5-year-old cousin Sharon.
Also killed were 13-year-old Paul Brokke, 50-year-old Evy Carlson and her parents, 80-year-old Rev. Arthur Olson and 79-year-old Minnie Olson. Minnie would have had her 80th birthday the next day, August 7th.
“We came back to Bloomington the next day and when the bodies were found we had a funeral with 7 caskets on Monday 11th August,” said Moline. “And then everyone went home and we kind of never talked about it.”
Moline was then 17 years old. Decades passed and their curiosity gradually grew. A few years ago she began looking for answers by interviewing other survivors.
Moline said, “I was beginning to realize that there was a lot of information that I had never heard that I didn’t know. And so I decided to write down my questions with everyone who was still alive and had been there. “
Moline called eyewitnesses in local newspapers, interviewed local authorities, and dissected the tornado outbreak with meteorologists from the National Weather Service.
“It was like filling a big puzzle and I had a few pieces. I thought I remembered it and then suddenly the story grew,” said Moline.
She wrote everything she’d learned in a book, The Lake Turned Upside down, and it got her family talking.
“I think it was therapeutic for everyone just to speak to someone who shared the experience and then be able to tell your story,” Moline said.
Her cousin Shane confronted the guilt of the survivors, which had slumbered for nearly 50 years. He shared this with Moline while he was with his mother, who was shocked to hear what he had with him the whole time.
“He said, ‘Mom, you told me to take care of my sister that day,'” said Moline.
“I thought if I don’t do this for any other reason, I’m glad I did it for that reason,” said Moline.
“The Lake Turned Upside Down” is available on Amazon and on duganbooks.com