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Snow, 26 Years Ago

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It would figure that it’s snowing here in RI today. I mentioned this back here, but 26 Years ago today was the Blizzard of ’78. The forecast was for 8-16″ of snow, heavy overnight and tapering off in the morning. Over 2 feet of snow fell, and Southern New England was paralyzed. It wasn’t the amount of snow, it was the speed it fell at and the general feeling that it was a “light” storm that wouldn’t amount to much. Southern New England was surprized at the ferocity of the storm and caught wholly unawares. As I said previously, here’s the official stats, go check out the numbers for yourself.

I was only a young pup of 5 at the time so my memories are rather difracted.

I remember that I hated snow as a kid. I’ve never been a fan of the cold. I was born in July and I love the summer heat. The winter cold, you can keep. My mother tells me that even as a very small child, I was the same way. In fact, I’ve been told that one of the first times I spent a significant amount of time outside in the snow was the blizzard of ’78.

I remember being dressed in a brandie-new snowsuit that I had gotten for Christmas. It was red, with blue trim. I didn’t want to go out in that “cold white stuff” but I was carried out and dropped in the snow. My older brother and sister were already out there playing in it. My mom was five months along with my younger sister. We played in the snow some but I don’t remember any details of that. I just remember the sheer AMOUNT of snow. I was five, and two feet and 1/2 feet of snow was much taller than me.

At one point, I don’t remember when, it was probably the second day of the storm, we walked up the street to a neighbor’s (and my mom’s friend) house. Sometime during the walk, my mother lost her glasses. I remember this point VERY distinctly. In the middle of a blizzard and my mother drops her glasses in the snow, is five months pregnant with three young children running around. If I remember correctly, she found them, but they were broken. Obviously, there was no way to get them repaired, so she rode out the storm in a semi-blind haze.

The aftermath was fun. My dad had shoveled the driveway out as much as possible. As was his habit, he piled the snow on the sides of the driveway, in particular around the telephone pole that is on the right-hand side of our driveway. We spend days digging through that pile of snow that he’d worked so diligently to clear off the driveway, making tunnels and building a tunnel-fort. It lasted quite a while, but eventually melted away.

I’m not one of those Rhode Islanders who runs to the store and clears the shelves of bread and milk and candles, “just in case,” but I’m sure if my memories were a little bit clearer, I might be. It took Rhode Island a week to dig out of that mess. It was a long time ago but it gives me the bragging rights to say to today’s youngsters, “why, back in my day, we had a REAL storm!”

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