At one point in my life, I referred to Chapman as my version of hell (and now that I think about it, I have referred to many things in my life as my versions of hell: girl scout camp, girl scouts, state track…). After last night, I feel that I should take ‘ol Chapman out of that category.
The small town west of Junction City was hit hard last night be a tornado that ripped it in two. Chapman is the size of Sedan, but is a 4A school, drawing from lots of small towns around it. It is where I served as the high school wrestling cheer sponsor and substitute taught my senior year at K-State.
I only called it my version of hell because my darling cheerleaders hated me and tried to make my life a living hell! They did a nice job of it, but after looking back at my time there, they taught me alot — maybe that I should never be a cheer sponsor again, never have teenage children… but for sure how to deal with different kinds of people, attitudes, personalities and life situations.
I drove to this town almost every day for much of the fall semester of 2004 and then on the weekends to take the girls to wrestling meets to cheer in the winter. I loved Chapman because it was small and reminded me of home.
So when I found out that a bad storm had hit Chapman and Manhattan last night, nothing prepared for me for the pictures I saw. The picture up top is the high school building — those are the front doors that seem to the the only thing left standing. I talked to one of the former cheerleaders this morning… everyone seemed to be accounted for and safe. She just said that Chapman was no more… I sent messages to all of the girls I knew, letting them know I was thinking about them.
It is hard to know what they are going through, when you have never been through it yourself. But I know how important my hometown is to me, so I can only imagine the devastation, heartache and immense pain they are going through.
Manhattan was also hit, but not as badly. Jord was bowling when the storm hit so he had to hang out downstairs at the karaoke bar until it passed. He was safe (as well as Bob!) and nothing was damaged. But many buildings on K-State’s campus were damaged and it will take awhile to get everything cleaned up.
The most important thing is that everyone is safe and made it through the tornado. What comes next will be hard, but its better to have to cope and make it through than not be there at all.
Chapman is in my thoughts…