Carol Black Duff
The following is my recall of that horrible day. I was 7 years old when this tornado struck. The Freemont school had only been out for the year for a few days. On that Sunday morning, I remember that the skies were clear but it was very warm and humid. My dad, Loyd Black was a forest ranger and we lived at the tower site about 3 miles out of Freemont. Our family had to make a trip to Willow Springs that day as my grandmother had passed away the week before and my mother, Johnabell, wanted to spend the day with her sister and tie up loose ends of my grandmothers estate. When we left Willow Springs, my mother wanted to stop in Mountain View so she could get some Thank You cards from the funeral home that handled my grandmothers funeral. My dad went into the funeral home and when he came out, he was very pale and shaking. When mom asked what was wrong, he said that Freemont had been struck by a tornado and there was nothing left. That the tower was still standing but that there was no information on whether the house was still there. My oldest brother, Larry, had stayed home that day so they were very concerned about his well being. Once we made it home, the house was intact but my brother was not there. My dad left then to go to Freemont to try to find him and help where he could. It turned out that Larry had gone to town to help. As so many people had lost everything, my parents opened up our small house to whoever needed shelter. We had people sleeping on the floor or anywhere else they could find to lay their heads. Not that much sleep was possible as we spent a good portion of the night in the basement. My mother swore that several tornados passed over that night. The next day, the Red Cross showed up and set up camp in our front yard. Our family were close friends of Red and Mary Lou Norris. Red had lost his service station and began moving what was salvagable to our garage. I can't remember how many days that my parents offered food and shelter to those without a home, but it was several. As Freemont was such a small town, our family knew each and every person that died that day. To this day, whenever I have the occasion to drive through Freemont, I always look up at the hill where the school house was and down the street where so much was lost. These are my memories.