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The youngsters soon were intercepted by their father, who, after harsh words, delivered them to campus in his car. Everything was flying through the air - chalkboards, chairs.
Perry carried in his satchel that morning a poem he had written for English class. It didn't take long for total chaos.'A family friend who had been on campus for a parents' meeting spotted the girl and took her home. In the next couple of minutes I heard an adult lady screaming, a high-pitched scream.
A two-ton concrete slab was flung 200 feet away by the force of the blast, smashing down upon a car.
The walls of the school collapsed, and the roof fell in.
An exhibit at the London Museum & Cafe in New London, Texas, on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
That led him to phone the dead girl's brother, a call that brought long-sought peace of mind.
Next weekend, Thompson will join hundreds of others at the town's rebuilt school to mark the calamity's 75th anniversary.
A fading generation with vivid memories, they will study victims' names on Main Street's granite cenotaph, peruse explosion exhibits in the town museum, pray, eat barbecue and - most of all - give vent to long-buried feelings.
The victims were buried under a huge pile of steel, brick and concrete.
To this day, it is the most catastrophic school disaster to occur in the history of the United States. Parents rushed from around town to find their children.