A blizzard is a-comin’, at least that’s what the forecasters say. However it’s been my experience that when the word “blizzard” is invoked, it fizzles into an anti-climax. But winds are seriously howling, the snow has started and my building has emailed high gales warnings to the residents. And I see forecasters have swapped specific predictions for a generalized “heavy accumulation.” Now that sounds ominous.
Being a budding old fart, I’m now afflicted with the tendency to reminisce. No, I’m not going to talk about walking every day 10 miles to school uphill both ways. This trip down memory lane concerns the Great Blizzard of 1967. This storm has gone down in the annals of weather history for dropping 23 inches of snow in 35 hours, totally paralyzing Chicago and northwest Indiana for days. People were trapped on overnight buses, in cars, in homes. It became the benchmark for blizzards.
That January I was six years old and already an avowed snow freak. I loved snowstorms and when I heard about this one, it was almost more than my little heart could stand. When it passed, we were all trapped at home. Schools were closed and it was impossible for my dad to get to work. My parents bundled up in more clothes than I have ever seen and went outside to begin the ordeal of digging out a very long driveway buried in drifts. They admonished me to absolutely, on pain of punishment, not come outside. I could look out the door, but that was it. I was utterly dismayed and angry. They were keeping me from my snow! So I mummified myself in coats and scarves and gloves and pulled on my little red boots. I would show them. I opened the door, stepped out, and my world went white and then dark as I sank into a drift. I cried for help, my father yanked me out and that ended any notion of making snow angels for awhile.
Actually I recall hating snow the rest of the winter, especially after school reopened. When the streets were plowed, it created huge mountains at the curbs which I had to climb, sometimes on my hands and knees, while I envisioned falling into the street and getting run over, my guts plastered for half a block. Fortunately I survived and lived to see two more blizzards. But they were nothing like the ole Blizzard of “67. Yup.
Why does this look so terribly ancient? It was only 44 years ago. Sigh.
I’ll leave you here with an image of another snowy affair: