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Rebuilding Joplin

It’s been well over a year since Joplin was devastated by a massive tornado.  Clean-up crews worked hard for months just to clear streets and remove debris.  Many of the commercial sites (like Wal-Mart and Home Depot) have been rebuilt, but some residential areas are still empty.

Lot after lot stretching out in the distance with just some concrete pads.

Why?  Because many areas of Joplin just weren’t that affluent.  When people lost everything, they simply packed up and left instead of rebuilding.  Many lower-income apartments were completely leveled.  The good news:  many new apartments and duplexes have been built.  The bad news:  most of them are no longer low income housing.

They might look great, but the people who used to live there can’t afford it.

We took a trip last month to take new pictures of the area.  All procceds in 4th quarter 2012 from The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch will go to Rebuilding Joplin.

When we lived in Joplin 1990-1992, we lived in an apartment on this once BUSY street.  I wouldn’t even recognize this area now if I didn’t have the street signs for reference.  The entire apartment complex and exercise facility behind it are gone.

This is where our favorite grocery store used to be.  It’s still just an empty parking lot.

This is where the high school used to be.  It’s an enormous hole in the ground now, and the students are using a large department store at the mall in the meantime.

This is all that’s left of the original high school.

This tree manages to break my heart and yet sing with hope at the same time.  You can tell from the broken branches that the tornado killed it and nearly twisted it completely out of the ground, yet it managed to hold firm.  Now painted in vibrant designs, it stands in a completely empty lot and promises that the heart of Joplin still beats strong and sure, despite the broken branches.

I’ve blogged about Mythos many times, and after I was assured my beloved sister was okay, my next thought was for Mythos and all the people we know there.  It’s almost like God drew His finger along Rangeline and jumped across the street…. to spare Mythos.  The tornado managed to veer just enough, destroying everything (including large Wal-Mart and Home Depot buildings) across the street.  There was some minor damage to the pillars outside, but the restaurant and the people we know there were spared (although the owner was INSIDE Wal-Mart when the tornado hit).

The monsters love Mythos as much as we do.  And yes, in my mind, Remy’s in The Zombie Billionaire’s Virgin Witch might look just a little like Mythos.  I hope I captured the same delicious food and warm, welcoming atmosphere of our favorite restaurant!

(Yes, they DO have Death By Chocolate Cake on the menu!)


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Mythos, Joplin Update

I noticed quite a few hits to my blog from people looking to see if Mythos survived the tornado.  Damon, superstar waiter at Mythos (ask for him, he’s great), says on Facebook that the restaurant is fine.  South of Mythos…not so good.  George (the owner) was inside Wal-Mart when the storm hit, but he’s okay, just banged up a bit.

I’ve heard from Molly tonight — they’re all buckled down and braced for another round of weather.  Please pray that Joplin is spared any further damaging weather!

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Joplin Tornado

I’ve talked about my Beloved Sister too many times to count here.   Molly lives in the Joplin, MO, area which was devastated by a massive EF4 tornado last night, but she’s fine.  Everyone I personally know in Joplin — including George, the owner of Mythos (which I’ve also raved about several times!), and our favorite waiter, Damon — are also okay.  I don’t know about their homes but we’ve connected with them on Facebook.

We didn’t even know about the storm until my Dad called and said Joplin had been hit, but he’d already talked to Molly and she was okay.  He warned us to get home as quickly as possible because the storm was headed right for us.  We hit Walgreens quickly and before we could get home, the tornado sirens started.

If I’d known at the time how bad Joplin had been hit, I might have been even more worried.  The kids and dogs hung out in the basement while we tracked the storm on the news.  I saw the storm passing a good ten miles south of us, so I wasn’t too worried.

Then the pictures from Joplin started coming in….

Sobs.  It’s so hard to realize that we were just there Saturday.  We drove down Rangeline Road and passed that Wal-Mart that is now just a pile of rubble.  As far as I know, Mythos is still there, but the other side of Rangeline is a tangled mass of trashed cars and destroyed buildings.  Rangeline, a major commercial road, is completely impassible.

I’m just so thankful that everyone we know and love are safe, but it’s going to take a long, long time for the area to recover.  Molly’s office building is completely gone.  The major hospital in Joplin, evacuated.  The high school, gone.  Over 2000 buildings damaged or completely destroyed.  If you’d like to help, this local website has details.

Please keep Joplin in your thoughts and prayers!

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Birthday Extravaganza

Wow, I’ve had an incredible birthday this year!  First two wonderful, exciting covers.  Second, two fun movies:  Wolverine and Star Trek.  Third, a monsterless night–they went to spend a night with Papa on the farm and had so much fun they didn’t want to come home.  Dad estimates they caught nearly 50 perch, and one bass so large that it broke Middle Monster’s cane pole.  They rode horses until they were exhausted (the horses, that is), had a bonfire, caught fireflies, and saw their distant cousins tonight.

But the icing on the cake for this birthday:  dinner at Mythos.  If you read Dear Sir, I’m Yours next month, you’ll see the restaurant mentioned.  It’s a real place in Joplin MO and has incredible food.  I was so stuffed that I could barely stay awake for the drive home.

Star Trek was fantastic.  I’m such a goob that I bawled in the first five minutes.  I cheered.  I clapped.  So much fun.  Once, I even swayed in my seat and bumped shoulders with That Man.  See, when we were kids, Sis and I would stumble and fall all about the house, pretending that we were in the middle of an Enterprise crash.

Wolverine was fun but not nearly as good as Star Trek.  It left me feeling sad and dissatisfied.

We also watched There Will Be Blood last net via Netflix.  That Man fell asleep.  I wish I had.  I hated the way it ended and was mad I wasted two hours of my life watching it.

All in all, this has been an incredible holiday weekend.  My allergies are acting up so I’m taking Benedryl, and it’s really kicking my fanny.  I can hardly stay awake.  I’m miserably behind on MayNoWriMo, but I hope to get some words made tomorrow and Monday.

Hope you’re all having a terrific Memorial Day weekend!