Blanks to return home to distribute Halloween candyWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for the next year as they rebuild their lives after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
Julie Blank won’t let a little thing like a front porch stop her from distributing candy in her neighborhood.
Julie and her husband, Ed, will return to their Main Street property from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 for Halloween trick-or-treating. They intend to set up in the driveway, even though it is cracked and has to be re-poured. If that doesn’t work, they will sit in the dirt or on a side street.
“It means a lot,” Julie said. “I want to go. Sometimes we get a lot of kids and sometimes we don’t; it all just depends. I just want to go back and be there.”
The return will be as much about tradition as it is about perseverance. Julie and her family have not let losing their house to the June 5 tornado stop them from going about their lives.
Usually, Halloween for the Blanks means a blazing fire pit and good friends. The women stay and give out candy, while the men take the children trick-or-treating. The next year, the moms and dads switch jobs.
Last year, the Blanks took their fire pit to a neighboring house and distributed candy from a central location so the trick-or-treaters didn’t have to walk down the busy road. This year, there will be no fire pit because it was lost in the tornado.
“We have to replace it yet,” Julie said.
This year, the backdrop for the spooky night will be a real-life nightmare. While the debris has been cleared, evidence of the tornado is seen in the many construction projects under way. The tornado leveled the Blanks’ house and killed their neighbors. Other houses in the neighborhood were also destroyed.
Structurally the Blanks’ house is done with the roof, windows, door and garage all set. The rough plumbing and heating is also done. The shed is built in the backyard.
Julie is looking forward to being home — even if it is just for one day. She and her family have been living in a condo in Oregon.
She doesn’t expect children to show up for treats at the condo, which is one reason she wants to go home to the familiar.
“Everyone is usually outside and we just kind of visit with each other,” Julie said.
Julie also talked to her builder, Mark Rigg, who is going to run an electrical cord so she has a little bit of light at the end of the driveway. The construction on the house is expected to be finished by the holidays — just not this holiday.