Part of my heart remains in the Midwest, and especially today as they are facing more destruction from those deadly storms, my thoughts are with the friends I left behind. I lived in Wichita, Kansas for four years and still remember the feeling of a tornado warning. I remember the stillness that would come before the storm. I remember the air charged with electricity. I remember the sense of doom. I remember the blackness.
As one that has spent most of my life in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, my first impression of Kansas was that it is very FLAT. Really. Everything seemed to be the same elevation (making it particularly vulnerable to tornadoes). How does one get one's bearings when there isn't a permanent mountain range standing as an ever present landmark?
I also remember getting out of the car for the first time in Wichita and trying to breathe in the thick, humid air. Life was certainly going to be different than what I was used to.
But I loved the hot sunshine. I loved getting the best tans of my life, and spending the summers at the pool. I loved my little circle of friends, most of them kids from church.
I will always think fondly of my days in Wichita, although it may have been one of the most difficult times of my life. As a new 7th grader beginning Junior High, my slate of friends had been wiped clean and I knew I must start all over. That is an awkward time in one's life anyway and I struggled with the extra challenge of being the new kid. But as the summer after 9th grade came along, with a pending move to Idaho, I was heartbroken. I had found friends; good friends, whom I loved.