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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Memories of '78

     It started around mid-morning with large, wet flakes.  Every New Englander knew what that meant -no sweat. Small, dry flakes meant something prolonged.  Right!
     "Aother winter storm with heavy snow," the forecasters said.  They didn't dignify the storms with names back then.  As soon as I'd heard "heavy snow," I'd gotten canned goods and cold cuts to last a few  days.  The same for milk, water, toilet paper, and pet food.  I'd filled the cars with gas and brought in wood from the garage (seasoned and dry) to keep the fireplace going, in case the power went out.  Oil burners need electricity.  The four of us would hunker in sleeping bags in front of the fire with the dog in the middle, if we had to.
     Schools let out early that day, February 6th.  By 2:30 the flakes were accumulating an inch an hour and seemed to be intensifying.  Our two boys hadn't shown up.  I called Charley in Providence.
     "There's no sign of them," I said.
     "I'm sure they'll be there any minute.  I'm going to get out of here, too."
     "Go now!  It's coming down much harder and the wind's picked up."  Charley was like the captain of a ship -  making sure the multi-national company was secure before he abandoned his office.
     Without the technology of cell phones, all I could do was wait.  At 3:00 a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old tumbled into the garage.  "The bus got stuck at the top of the street," older bro said.  "We all had to get out and push it."
     "It's up to our waists at the end of the driveway," little bro said.
     The electricity didn't waver, thankfully.  We watched hurricane-like swirls on television, except that hurricanes gather strength over water.  We were eighteen miles inland. 
     One of the neighbors pushed his car down the cul-de-sac and abandoned it in our driveway.  By dark, it was completely covered.  At 6:00, still no Charley.
     The phone rang.  "I'm back in the office," he said.  "I got to the car but there's nothing moving.  It took three hours to go two blocks.  I pulled into a parking space on South Main and walked back."
     "I don't know why you stayed so long!  At least the boys made it home."
     "Who knew it would be so heavy?  I have a couch in the office and a bathroom."
     "What will you eat?"
     "I don't know."
      By morning the sun was shining, but the wind chill was near zero.  Drifts rose to the second-story windows.  According to the television, our town had been in the eye of the storm with a snowfall of fifty-four inches.  I called the boys to help me push the door open so I could wedge myself out to dig a path for the dog.  There was no other sign of life.
     Charley had no toothbrush and no underwear, but he'd worn his heavy, lined ski boots to work.   "I found some food," he told me on the phone.
     "What did you eat?"
     "Girl Scout cookies.  Their headquarters are next door."
     For three days, I shovelled and dug while Charley checked in by phone.  Our house still had electricity and heat, but the indicator on the oil tank had moved below one-quarter.  Roads were impassable.  Neighbors pooled food and booze and rotated houses for parties.  Charley slept on his couch and ate Girl Scout cookies.
     On the fourth day, an apparition walked out of the blinding glitter.  An abominable snowman, Charley had walked on tops of cars to get out of the city.  Then he'd sat in the cab of a snowplow across the Massachusetts border and finally on the back a snowmobile into northern Rhode Island.  His hair was matted and his breath smelled, but he looked gorgeous.
     "Please don't ever ask me to eat a Girl Scout cookie," he said.
    On the fifth day, payloaders from upstate New York rumbled down our street.  Their tires rose above the ski ramp kids had created over the abandoned car.  We shovelled the banks the payloaders built at the end of driveways and had a few runs down the manmade ramp.  When Charley went to retrieve his car in Providence, the city collected  $150 in fines.

What are your memories of the '78 blizzard?  Write them in the box below.



  1. My mother was a meter maid for the City of Boston, and when the storm came she had to stay in town at traffic and parking headquarters. She and my godmother, who was also a meter maid, slept on desks for two nights. I was 15 and stayed on Langley Road in Newton with my Aunt Ev. One neighbor snowshoed it to and from Newton Centre for supplies. We never lost power, but did get low on food. I remember her improvising with a box of spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, cheese - Yum!

  2. Great memories now, and amazing how people pulled together! I remember the dog bolting out the back door and immediately disappearing altogether. When the boys stepped out, the snow covered their hoods.