Waking up to a torn-up lawn, Ohio family thinks Mayfield’s town square will hold their famous flower show. It doesn’t.

CLAY COUNTY, Ky. — Clouds are gathering over downtown Mayfield, Ky., and things are looking ominous. The first tornado of the season can be heard and saw, as swirling winds blow in a dark,…

Waking up to a torn-up lawn, Ohio family thinks Mayfield’s town square will hold their famous flower show. It doesn’t.

CLAY COUNTY, Ky. — Clouds are gathering over downtown Mayfield, Ky., and things are looking ominous. The first tornado of the season can be heard and saw, as swirling winds blow in a dark, dense and violent vortex.

Residents are looking out windows and outside patio doors, waiting for the tornado to come through. As rain falls, they brace for what’s coming.

A house across the street, on Dartmouth Street, is torn in half. A railing hangs off the roof and pieces of wood and debris are scattered in the yard. The people inside, though, seem to have heeded the warnings and are holed up inside, huddled together.

They have not, however, been spared. A passing car was not in the storm but it could not escape the devastation. A body lies on the road, with glass littered all around it. A portion of a roof has been flipped over, and surrounding homes have been destroyed.

Everything was gone, including photos. The damage appears extensive.

“I had pretty well everything, and then all of a sudden it’s gone,” says Carol Maguskiewicz, a Mayfield resident and paraprofessional with the Clay County Public Schools. “You ask, where did it all go? And I had it all. Now it’s gone.

“Where did it all go? Oh, it’s gone,” she says. “I feel terrible for those people who lost their homes.”

Both Maguskiewicz and her husband, Jim, have been together since they were freshmen in high school. Jim is from Mayfield and Carol is from Shaker Heights, Ohio. Jim was a dancer and Carol a cheerleader for several years. Carol became a home teacher and her husband a crew chief for the Mayfield Fire Department. They’ve lived in Mayfield since 1995.

Each year for the last 15, Carol has picked out the flowers for the Arbor Day show in the town square, a tradition that they participated in for 15 years. It’s so rare to get such a complete shot of a week before Mayfield’s queen flowers make it out of the ground that Carrie and Jim thought it worthy of a photo. But as soon as they see it online, they know it’s no longer a photo.

[Photos: Carol Maguskiewicz, left, with Mayfield’s traditional oak trees, and her husband, Jim.]

Jim and Carol are in Mayfield now, watching a television show about a rescue of a trolley car derailed in 1869. They’re at home with their six-year-old granddaughter, Grace. The family huddles under their porch. The damage to the house, though, is exactly what they need to worry about.

“As far as why it happened, it’s beyond any kind of control,” says Jim. “Whatever God has prepared for us.”

Jim says a tree had fallen across their backyard a few weeks ago, and that two weeks ago the “one in front of my house” ripped off the roof.

The couple have lived in Mayfield their entire lives. This is also Jim’s favorite time of year — because his favorite type of tree, the summer magnolia, is starting to grow.

“It’s supposed to start popping right now,” Jim says. “And it won’t be pretty.”

“It’s supposed to start popping right now,” Jim says. “And it won’t be pretty.”

Jim takes off his baseball cap and lays it on the ground. His gold watch crinkles with the falling rain. Jim keeps staring at a tree the two of them planted together.

The tree looks like it’s growing through a road.

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