Blizzard Nostalgia

It’s been snowing for the last two days in Pigspittle. I love snow—until February and then I’m ready for spring. I would much rather have snow than the bitter cold blue sky and brown earth that most often covers Ohio winters. I remember visiting relatives in New York and Massachusetts over Christmas as a kid and being impressed with the volume of “the white stuff,” as my dad would call it. One Christmas in Greenfield, MA, we dug tunnels in the snow drifts. You couldn’t do that in Ohio, at least not in central Ohio where I grew up. The big snow would end up in Cleveland or Toledo, close to the lakes, stopping just north of I-270.

The exception would be the winters of 1977 and 1978, when we were hit with two blizzards. The blizzard of 1978 was especially impressive, even a bit terrifying if you were up that night listening to the wind and the brittle clacking of frozen tree limbs.

I discovered a site today that documents bad Ohio weather. Here’s the page on the 1978 blizzard. You can hear Gov. Rhodes intone, “Ohio’s in trouble tonight.” My dad swung into action, setting up a civilian air patrol to look for abandoned motorists. He put me to work folding and stapling his bi-weekly newsletter on aviation safety, which I would have been doing anyway if we could drive to the office.

Between those two winters, 1977 and 1978, we were also in the midst of the oil shortage. Schools were shut down all over because there wasn’t enough heat. I love this picture.

At my high school, we had “school without a school” for what seemed like three months, though it might have been only one. Each week, we met at the high school and got our assignments to take home. The rest of the time we mostly drove around town in my friend Mary’s brown Pinto. There was absolutely nothing to do. I was so bored I went to see Barbra Streisand in A Star is Born with my step-mother. And I walked the frigid mile to Stop and Go to buy cigarettes nearly every day.

I don’t remember studying at all.

3 Comments Blizzard Nostalgia

  1. vandrop December 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    MAN! I remember digging tunnels in the snow drifts – the 10 foot tall piles heaped up by plows. (This was in Akron – southernmost tip of “the lake effect”.) We actually sat inside a hollowed out mound of ice and snow. Miracle it didn’t cave in and kill us all. Childhood!

  2. Meg December 8, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for posting, Mr. Vandrop. Did you ever go tobogganing? That is another favorite memory of our winter visits out East.

  3. Roger February 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    School without a school, man does that take me back. Half day at school, maybe a trip out to the pines, then a weeks vacation. It DID seem like months.
    Thanks for the memory


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