When people lose their homes in tornadoes, their belongings may be scattered for miles. Tornadoes don’t discriminate, and destroy or carry away everything from cheap furniture to priceless heirlooms, forgettable paperbacks to generations-old Bibles, dime-a-dozen pictures to a lone reminder of someone close.
Sometimes, those precious items are discovered and returned. In other cases, the person who found that item is still searching for its rightful owner, six years later.
Tuscaloosa News reporter Stephanie Taylor has been searching for someone who recognizes the photo she found April 28 while walking through the Alberta area with Tuscaloosa City Councilman Kip Tyner.
“We were walking over everybody’s stuff,” she said. “There was people’s underwear, people’s toothbrushes, Lunchables, food, everything was just laying out there. And this picture of this girl was sitting there, and I couldn’t leave her.”
Taylor plucked the picture from the rubble and carried it with her until she made it back to the newspaper’s office. It’s been on her desk ever since, Taylor said.
“I call her my tornado girl,” Taylor said.
The picture, encased in a pink corduroy frame, isn’t recent, Taylor said. She estimated it’s from the 1970s or ’80s, but it could easily be from another decade.
Taylor said she’s taken the picture out of the frame to check for a name or a date on the back, but it was blank.
“It just struck me that this was somebody’s photograph,” she said. “This is somebody’s daughter, somebody who probably lost everything else. I know you can’t replace photos, so every year I post the picture on Facebook or or on Twitter and hope that maybe I can find out who she is or who the picture belongs to.”
In past years, the picture didn’t get much traction on social media, Taylor said, but this year it’s taken off.
“I’m hoping that maybe this year’s the year that I can get her out of my desk and where she belongs,” she said.