MONSON, Mass. (WGGB) — “My heart was in my throat, as they say, as I drove up here the morning after the tornado,” said Dave Ramsey, Monson’s Community Garden Coordinator. “It might have even been the night of the tornado, I probably didn’t wait until the morning after. It’s all kind of a blur now.”
The Monson Community Garden, located on the Keep Homestead, was left untouched by the tornado. While volunteers put the finishing touches on a mural on a nearby shed, the din of heavy equipment echoed just down the road.
Parts of Monson took a direct hit from the tornado. Historic homes were destroyed. American flags flew all over Monson Wednesday but the town’s annual 4th of July Celebration had to be canceled.
“As Monson residents,” said Ramsey, “where historically for twenty or thirty years have had a 4th of July Summerfest, which would have fallen on Monday of next week being the 4th of July. The celebration has been canceled this year because the downtown area is just too badly damaged.”
There are just so many stories associated with the tornado. Stephen Phillips drove us to his parents homestead deep in the woods near Twelve Mile Brook. A once lush and beautiful forest is left in shambles.
But the most amazing story we heard on Wednesday was told by Michelle Phipps.
“A text message,” said Phipps. “You constantly complain to put those phones away. But you know what, a friend texted her and said that a tornado is on its way into Monson. She looked out her bedroom window and there it was coming up Stewart Ave.”
Michelle, her husband, and three teenage daughters live at 20 Stewart Ave. Their 100-year-old house took a direct hit.
Michelle’s three girls, Miranda, Marissa, and Montana, were all home alone huddled in a shallow basement as the house above them disintegrated. Her family safe, after a life changing experience. “Normalcy. We all look at normalcy a little different now. I guess normalcy to us now is sitting down to dinner together, that’s normalcy for us.”
“Having your house back, I don’t know we’re working on that. It seems to be a slow process but we’ll get there. To look at my kids faces at dinner time, I’m blessed.”