TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – A survivor of the New London School Explosion is telling the story of what she experienced that tragic day in 1937.
Betty Smith was eleven years old and in the seventh-grade practicing tennis outside when she heard a loud boom. She immediately fell to the ground.
She doesn’t recall how she made it home that day, but she knew something was terribly wrong.
“Then I began to realize how horrible it really was; neighbors were running, asking ‘have you seen such and such, have you seen such and such,’” she remembers.
Smith says she saw a sight that she would never forget.
“They stacked the bodies as they brought them out, just like you’d stack a wood stack,” said Smith
She remembers the chaos of everyone running around through all the debris trying to find their loved ones.
“People would come and try to find their children if they were killed, and that’s the worst thing I can remember about it,” she recalls.
Her tennis mate whose sister was killed by the explosion had to jump out of the second story window.
“It took something out of me,” she said.
She didn’t have the heart to play tennis again when a new school was built nearby, with a monument to honor the victims.
“The desire to play tennis was not there anymore.”
Smith wonders if there are any other survivors like her from the New London School.
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