Guest Blogger is Les Paugh Sr. who married Gail’s cousin Treva Mae Davidson. He remembers that he was out of work for 6 weeks when the union went on strike, so he went to El Dorado after hearing from Roy McGhee (Treva and Gail’s uncle) that Clyde needed help on the oil drilling rig.
“I went to work there in November 1957. We only had two weeks of work in November and 1 week in December. We were living with Gail and Clyde Martin at that time. We had 3 kids and they had 4 or 5.
The only meat we had on the table was rabbits that I shot. Clyde had a Kaiser-Frazer car with wide flat fenders.
At night we would go out on the country roads and I would set on the right front fender and shoot rabbits with my 22 pistol. That was all the meat we could afford. We had boiled rabbit. baked rabbit, fried, and any other way Treva and Gail could think of to fix them. Red Drilling Company gave us a turkey at Thanksgiving and one at Christmas.”
He found other work and the Paugh family found a place to live about a block from the hospital. “While I was working on the highway, east of town with the blade operator, a tornado came up on the west side of town. I told the operator that it looked like it hit our area. We both took off and went to the tool shack and our cars. I got into my 55 Packard and he went into the tool shed.
The tornado turned and came over the cars and the tool shed. My Packard and his 56 Chrysler parked by mine tipped up on their sides and I thought they were going to go over, but they didn’t. The blade operator and about 6 other men came out of the tool shed and they were all as white as a sheet. I asked what had happened. They said that a long piece of 2 X 6 had gone through the shed but didn’t hit anybody there.
I was afraid that the tornado had gone over to Clyde and Gail’s which was closer to the path of the tornado. I started over there and Treva and my kids came out of a house up the block that had a basement. When I saw all of you were OK, I went over to Gail and Clyde’s. The tornado hit about 1/2 a block from them.”
Note by Virginia Allain: At the time of the tornado, Clyde Martin was in the hospital after a serious car accident. Their sixth child, Shannon was born 10 days before the tornado. Gail left the baby with her sister-in-law while she went to visit Clyde. So they were both at the hospital when the tornado struck the town.