“I love to sew and I recycle old things and make them new. I make tote bags from corn seed or dog and chicken feed bags and bow ties from old clothes. I need to find more bags so I can start selling these. Sewing eases my mind and gives me peace. After the Tuscaloosa tornado destroyed my apartment and my business at the flea market, I moved in with my sister. I couldn’t sleep at night and needed something to do with my time and my hands. I started crocheting and that became making new things from bags and old clothes.
After the tornado, I knew there was a bigger plan for me. I was at the flea market when the tornado hit. It was located in a warehouse, and the roof was torn off and walls collapsed, but we were covered by a mattress and weren’t hurt. If I had been at my apartment, I wouldn’t be here today. My apartment was on the second floor and there was nothing left but the floor. It killed some of the friends who lived around me, but the tornado changed me even more than that. I had a booth at the flea market and everyone was social enough, but we stuck to our own groups. The black vendors stayed amongst each other and the white vendors stayed amongst each other, and sometimes it was a messy mess. I had always been a loving person, but I got in with the majority and didn’t try to influence situations in the right way. Karen was a white vendor and she gave me a ride to work while my car was broken down. She and I ate together sometimes, but we were sore thumbs and still had situations. The morning of the tornado, I asked her for a ride, but she was already at the flea market. I thought good, and in my mind pride got me and I thought I didn’t want her to pick me up anyway. We went back and forth about the ride, but she said she was coming to get me and she hung up on me. She picked me up. Two days later a voice said ‘I used Karen to bring you to safety.’ I knew that was God. Karen, the one I had attitude problems with, saved my life. After that, you talk about someone going to Karen’s house every day. I asked her for forgiveness and we were together every day for two weeks. She changed my attitude and my life.”