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Her body language spoke volumes. Paula Naslund stared numbly at the cascade of bricks and debris that was all that remained of the building that once stood next to and totaled Larry's Auto Service, at 104 S. Pine, in Norborne.
Straight-line winds ripped through the little town Wednesday evening, ripping limbs from trees and uprooting trees , and causing damage to homes and businesses in town and throughout the area.
Larry's Auto Service and the old brick building next to it were just two of the many structural casualties. As Paula prepared to go inside her husband's shop, she watched Curtis Evans, the owner of the brick building, throw several bricks that had spilled onto the Naslund property back onto his. It was a futile effort, as both buildings are complete losses.
Paula Naslund spoke to The Daily News as she went into the auto shop. The wall that was parallel to Evans' building was shredded and tilting inward from the force of the brick wall that fell into it. A vehicle that was being repaired sustained damage from the debris that fell onto and against it.
"My husband is a very good Christian," said Paula, as tears welled in her eyes and she looked around the shop. "All he's ever wanted was his own little auto business."
The building owned by Evans was built in 1906 according to Paula, who also said it was supposed to be torn down for some time. She said several letters were sent to Evans to take the building down, but said the city didn't enforce it.
"We both have to find jobs now, to take care of our three girls," said Paula. "My husband is an A.S.E. certified mechanic."
Though Paula was obviously hurt and emotional at their loss, she was not angry, and she still managed a smile and wave as she saw people she knew drive past.
Looking around the front of the building, she smiled and said, "At least the nectarine tree survived. My husband loves fresh fruit." The tree stands near the front door.
When the storm came, Paula was at home with her daughters. Two of them were in the bathtub for protection, and Paula and the other one were watching the storm.
I'm a storm lover," said Paula. "We were taking pictures. When the tree came by, we decided to go to the center of the house. It sounded more like a freight train than anything else."
Paula said the house received minor damage. It's located just up the street from the business.
"It's nothing we can't fix," she added. "We were well-insured."
As for the business? Well, she crossed her arms and sighed.
'God brought us to it, He'll bring us through it," she replied.
Photo: Larry's Auto Service in Norborne was crushed Wednesday night when straight-line winds between 75 and 100 m.p.h. blew through the town and knocked over a brick buidling. More storm photos on page 12. (Photo by Brenda Jensen/The Daily News)