Georgia NeSmith
5 min readMay 28, 2019

The closest I’ve ever been to a tornado was in the summer of 1973 — in Ontario, California.

My then husband and I lived with our toddler daughter in a small two bedroom home one block east of Euclid Avenue — a 7-mile long boulevard leading toward the San Gabriel mountains. Once noted for its exceptional beauty, the avenue had double rows of 100 year-old pepper trees lining its broad, grassy center divide.

Until that day.

The neighborhood we lived in was a hodgepodge of grand but aging wood frame houses and tiny stucco boxes. Our neighbors ranged from a dotty elderly widow (next door) whose family had made a good deal of money in the heyday of the orange groves, to a young professional couple withthree children (across the street), to several families at the end of the block barely scraping a living out of their jobs at the Sunkist plant, or from welfare and food stamps.

Euclid Avenue, Ontario California, looking toward Mount Baldy.

It was a relatively quiet and safe street, only two blocks long, though occasionally its peace would be broken by hot rodders streaking down it at full speed, screeching to a halt at the Euclid Avenue stop sign.

It was a good place, or so it seemed, for a couple without a lot of money to raise…



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.