Zoey was very excited. Her cousin Chloe was coming for an extended stay. Chloe’s mom and dad were going out of the country for a few months. Zoey’s aunt had asked her mom if Chloe could stay with them. Everyone loved Chloe so the answer had been yes.
Zoey was dressed in her best pink dress. She wanted to wear her new tights but mom said to save them for church. So Zoey did the next best thing and slipped on a pair of short shorts under her beautiful dress. Zoey felt very pretty today. Mom put a big pink bow in her hair. She said for an occasion like this she had wanted Zoey to look very nice.
Zoey was sitting on the front porch swinging back and forth. She had been waiting almost an hour for Chloe to get here. She wondered what was taking so long anyway. Bernard was in his room reading. It seemed to Zoey like that was all Bernard wanted to do. She thought he was smart enough and didn’t need to read anymore. Zoey told him she’d call him when Chloe pulled in the driveway.
Mom was making brownies. The house smelled so good. Chloe loved brownies. Last summer when Zoey stayed with her for a few days they ate brownies everyday. Zoey was surprised that Chloe didn’t turn into a brownie!
Chloe was pink like Zoey but she had blue hair. Nobody knew where Chloe got the blue hair from. She was very pretty though and she always wore her hair in a pony tail. Sometimes she would put a big bow around her pony tail. It really did look very fashionable. Chloe and Zoey were the same age but Chloe was shy and reserved. Zoey was just Zoey. The girls did get along well though. They’d never had a argument as long as Zoey could remember.
Zoey went over her list of plans for the day. As soon as Chloe got here they were going to ride bikes and maybe ride over to the park. That would be so much fun. She thought about asking Milly if she wanted to go along. Milly was a lot of fun. Zoey knew Chloe would just love her.
At half past three Chloe and her parents pulled in the driveway. Zoey jumped up and ran down the stairs. She was yelling “They are here”! Bernard walked out on the porch and waved to Chloe. She smiled and waved back.
The grown-ups went in the house and Zoey and Chloe gave each other a big hug. Chloe hadn’t grown one inch since the last time she’d been here. Her and Zoey were exactly the same size. Zoey eyed her cousin up and down and thought that she looked very pretty! Of course Zoey liked her own pink dress better but she’d never say a word.
Chloe wanted to go in the house to say goodbye to her mom and dad so everybody went into the kitchen. Chloe saw the brownies and asked if she could have one. Mom said “sure” and made a plate of brownies for everybody.
When they were finished Zoey took Chloe upstairs to her room. Mom and Dad had a room. Zoey had her own room and Bernard had his own room. Mom made sure Chloe would have her own room too. Mom had worked all week on her bedroom. She made pretty curtains for her windows and a beautiful purple quilt for her bed. Chloe was so happy. Her dad came upstairs with some of Chloe’s things. He put 7 pillows on the bed. Zoey thought that was just a little excessive but Chloe just looked at her and said “I like my pillows” Zoey just shrugged her shoulders. To each her own she thought. Her dad brought 5 suitcases filled with clothes. Then there was the big bag that was filled with her toys and dolls. Zoey couldn’t wait to see all Chloe’s toys. She just knew they were going to have so much fun.
Zoey told Chloe about her new friend Milly from across the street. They decided that after Chloe’s parents left they would walk over to Milly’s so Chloe could meet her and her family. Her parents left shortly after her dad had put all her things in her new room. Zoey and Chloe walked over to Milly’s house. They knocked but nobody came to the door. Zoey told Chloe that maybe they had gone to the store.
They decided to go back home and get the bikes and take a ride. Chloe had brought her bike and it was really nice. It was one of the nicest bike’s Zoey had ever seen. She made a mental note that she needed to talk to her mom and dad about a new bike. One like Chloe’s that had pink sparkles on the seat.
They rode around the block a couple times. Zoey didn’t like the way the clouds looked. It was getting very dark. Zoey decided they should go back to the house. They put their bikes in the garage and made it into the house just before the storm hit. There was lightning and thunder and rain. It seemed like the rain was coming down in buckets. Zoey heard mom tell Bernard that it was starting to hail. Mom yelled for everyone to go to the basement. Everyone took off running. Their city had a tornado siren and Zoey could here it going off. Dad made sure everyone was safe in the basement before he came down and shut the door.
The lights started flickering so mom lit a couple candles so they could see. There was a loud noise outside. Zoey wasn’t sure what it was but it sounded like a train. Thank goodness they were all in the basement. She was very sad that the weather had to get so bad on the first day of Chloe’s visit. Dad had a radio that took batteries so he was listening to the weatherman. Dad looked up and told everybody that a tornado had touched down right in this area.
Chloe’s eyes were as big as saucers. Bernard put his book down. Zoey had the strangest thought that for Bernard to put his book down meant they were in big trouble. When the weatherman said the tornado had passed Dad went upstairs and opened the door. The house was okay but then he went to the window and Zoey heard him sigh. That was not good. Mom went up after Dad and Zoey heard her sigh too. Zoey yelled up and said was it okay to go upstairs. Mom said yes but that everybody had to stay in the house.
Chloe and Zoey were holding hands. They were so scared. They had never been in a tornado before. When they looked out the kitchen window they couldn’t believe what they saw. The garage was gone along with their bikes. Zoey thought so much for having wheels this summer. The big oak tree was laying on it’s side. Smaller trees in the yard looked like they’d been stripped of bark. The fence was gone and mom’s flowers were destroyed. Mom and dad looked at everybody and said “don’t worry”. “The most important thing is that we are okay”.
Dad’s a volunteer fireman so he was going to the station. There were a lot of people that needed help. Mom was going to stay with Zoey, Chloe and Bernard. She wanted to call the neighbors but the phones weren’t working. There was no electric and that meant no TV. Everyone stayed in the kitchen with mom.
Mom said she was going to use her cell phone to call the insurance company. After a little while neighbors started coming over. Everyone was talking about the storm. It turns out that the weatherman said an F2 tornado had come through town. Mr. Charles from down the street said everyone was actually very lucky. Zoey heard him say if it had been an F5 it could have picked the topsoil up off the ground. He said an F5 is total destruction. An F5 could go through town at 300 miles an hour. In Xenia, Ohio an F5 went through town and destroyed everything in it’s path. Dad called mom’s cell phone and told her not to worry. The firemen were out helping anyone that needed help. Mom said the redcross had arrived in town and they were helping people.
Zoey, Bernard and Chloe huddled together on the bench in the kitchen. Everybody wanted to help but they didn’t know what to do. Mom told them to just stay in the house where they were safe. Zoey came up with an idea. She thought it was the best idea ever! She asked mom if they could help babysit for the little children in the neighborhood. They could keep the children busy while their parents were busy with clean-up. Mom actually liked the idea. She called Mrs. Kline on her cell phone and before they knew what was going on 10 little children were in the family room. Chloe loved little children and so did Zoey and Bernard. Bernard brought out some children’s books to read to the little ones. Zoey and Chloe brought some toys downstairs for the children to play with. They really felt like they were helping out during this emergency. Mom said everyone had to pitch in and help when there was a natural disaster.
By midnight the last child had left. Zoey, Bernard and Chloe were as tired as could be. Dad was back home but there were still no lights. They didn’t know when the lights were going to come back on. Mom went upstairs and got sleeping bags for everyone and put them in the family room. She decided the best thing for everyone was to stay close together. Zoey was asleep the minute her head hit the pillow. Bernard was very tired but he did want to read a little so he got in his sleeping bag and read his book. He used an old flashlight that Dad had given him. Chloe fell asleep as soon as she laid down. Mom felt bad that all this had happened on the first day of Chloe’s visit.
Mom’s last thought before she nodded off was that it would take awhile but the neighborhood would get back to normal. Fortunately everyone was okay. No lives had been lost. Houses could be replaced.