OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — Most of the boxes sitting in a spare bedroom of Gene Perdue’s new house haven’t been opened since May, 2013.
“It’s kind of like Christmas,” he says.
Friends and family had to pack them quickly after the May 20th tornado.
Their home of 40 years lost its roof and one wall in the storm.
In an interview from May 21, 2013 Gene told reporters, “We made it through without a scratch, which is really good.”
Nearly 11 months later he says, “I’m thinking I’ve gotten a little older.”
Perdue only moved into his newly built home in mid-April.
The open concept plans literally fell on his head during last spring’s clean-up.
“I picked it up and looked at it. We said we think we can alter this a little bit and make it work.”
The tally sheet for what’s saved and what’s lost can take years after a storm.
When Gene’s shed collapsed on his classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air he thought it was totalled, until he drove it out from under the rubble.
It looked dusty and dented then.
Now it’s show room ready.
He parks it securely in his new four car garage.
Gene only takes it out when the sky is clear blue.
“It actually didn’t take all that long but it seemed like it did,” says Perdue. “We were just anxious to get back to where we live.”
New house, new classic, new storm shelter to replace the old one that didn’t have a door.
41 years after they moved in, 11 months after they were forced out, they’re back now to stay.
Gene and his wife planned to show off their newly restored ’57 Chevy at the Southwest Street Rod Nationals in Oklahoma City.
The show is at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds April 12-13.