On Hatteberg’s People, we come full circle with Marion and Ella Mae Marrs.
For the past two years they have been rebuilding their lives since the Greensburg tornado took everything away. For the past two years, I’ve photographed their recovery as two people fight back against nature. Now they have won.
Two years ago, Marion and Ella Mae’s lives were in ruin. The EF5 tornado took the town ---
“But we’ll make it.”
But not their spirit.
Starting over at nearly 80.
“Breaks your heart.”
For two years they lived in this motor home, spending part of the time in Greensburg and part-time in southern Texas.
They were down, but not out…planning everyday to build a new house on a corner where Ella Mae had lived for over 50 years.
“This is what makes it a reality.”
“I’m so used to cleaning that little-bitty motor home I don’t know if I can handle a big house or not.”
Now, their dream is a reality. Their dream house is finished –
“We made it.”
“I think this is where we are going to spend the rest of our lives.”
Marion and Ella Mae are like proud parents of a new baby.
“It worked out to be a wonderful home.”
“This is our master bedroom. I’m very proud of it. I’ve always wanted a big bedroom and I got it. And this is my wild bathroom. I love red and I said I’m going to have a red bathroom.”
“And all of it I have installed and it makes it more personal.”
“We’ve done a lot of stuff and I didn’t think we could do it. I didn’t think we could swing it but we did.”
“Working together to build this house made you closer.”
“We salvaged the bed and the bedspread and all these pictures out of the other house.”
“Like this T-shirt says ‘we’re down, but not out’. We’re back!”
And so is Greensburg. At the town’s only stoplight, an occasional small traffic jam occurs. Construction projects abound – some completed, more on the way with each passing day.
Marion and Ella Mae won’t forget what they went through – their shiny new tornado shelter a constant reminder of shattered lives.
“Breaks your heart.
But in a small way, each home rebuilt, like this one, is a brick in Greensburg’s future.
“We just kept trucking at it and rebuilding and everything went smooth.”