Some readers, in far away places, have contacted me regarding the devastating tornado that decimated part of Joplin, Missouri, last night. They suggested I keep them apprised of what was transpiring I had a number of family members and friends directly affected by the storm. One of my sisters was on the 6th floor of St. John’s Hospital when the storm hit and she and her husband were stranded there for over an hour. Her only means of communication was by text messaging her daughter in Carthage..
After fearing the walls wouldn’t hold up, before they could get out, my sister and her husband were eventually moved to shelter at the First Assembly of God Church in Galena, Kansas. Also, a brief message was received this morning from a niece I had attempted to contact since shortly after the storm hit. Fifteen seconds into that conversation the power was knocked out at her Joplin home but I believe she is okay.
I was in contact through the evening hours last night with my nephew who lives at Carthage. He was monitoring the events through police scanner radio. Some of the information he was relaying to me indicated that the reported death toll last evening of 24 would go much higher which it has. Some of the stories the police were passing to one another have never made the news and probably won't but their accounts were chilling.
Being very familiar with the layout of Joplin, Missouri I knew that it was inevitable that the path of the storm would hit certain people and places. There is an audio account of a group of people seeking shelter in a convenience store on 20th Street. It has aired on many national radio and television outlets and is now all over the internet. When the address of that convenience store was given I immediately thought of Max and Nellie Mantle, Mickey’s first cousin. I knew it wouldn’t do any good to call Max’s home. I placed a call to Johnny Lafalier at Miami, Oklahoma. Lafalier and Mickey Mantle married the Johnson sisters. Lafalier told me that Max’s home just off 20th Street on Anne Baxter had suffered major damage and that his two vehicles were destroyed. However, Max and Nellie weren’t injured and are now staying at the home of their son at Loma Linda, the same place where Mickey and Merlyn had a home, back in the day.
The place where so many gathered for the kick-off of my book, Mickey Mantle Before the Glory, the Dillons Supermarket, took a direct hit and is no longer. The site where Mickey Mantle’s Holiday Inn used to sit became a Lowes Hardware and Garden Store. It too no longer exists.
This report used to go to many readers in Joplin. I don’t know the status of most of those folks. I trust they were spared. If any of the Joplin readership receives this note I’d love to hear that you are okay.
Today, was a repeat of a telephone call I made to Johnny Lafalier a couple of years ago when a huge tornado hit that same general area and destroyed most of what was left of the contaminated town of Picher, Oklahoma. We conversed for a few minutes again today and I told him that I had shared a photo of his mother-in-law’s home in Picher as it was being moved to nearby Commerce. He asked that I send him a copy of that photo that I attempted to download to this readership a couple of time last week, but to no avail. Lafalier wanted the photos so that he could send it to Mickey’s son’s, Danny and David in Dallas. So, if any of you would like to see that former home of Mickey Mantle and Johnny Lafalier’s mother and father-in-law, let me know and I’ll give it one more shot.
This report is in NO way an attempt to report on what is transpiring in Joplin in any informed or official manner. I had a couple of readers wanting me to take on some role to inform the Flash Readers of some of what was transpiring. I know a little about my family’s experience with the disaster and also that of the family of Max Mantle