No, this isn’t a title of a disaster movie. With the weather forecasters for Springfield, MO and St. Louis, MO regaling us tv viewers about the latest snow storm that is expected to hit the state today and Wednesday, I began recalling the blizzard that I lived through and can remember almost as if it happened yesterday. It’s also a natural weather event that none of my 7 kids have ever experienced. Snow storms and cancelled school, yes they’ve experienced that but not a true blizzard.
I was in 7th grade, and as my alarm clock was about to ring I was coming out of a dream where I was on a beach and the wind was blowing so loudly, and palm trees were swaying to and fro. As I awoke from my slumber, I realized that the wind was really blowing, very loudly, howling in fact. I stumbled out into the dining room, as my bedroom was just off of that room, in our ranch type house on S. Clinton St. and as I looked out the large picture window in the living room, the world was a thick whirl of white. If a person had been walking outside in our front yard at that moment, I wouldn’t have been able to see them! My parents were in the kitchen and I remember my mom asking my dad if I should even attempt to go out to the bus stop. My dad told her absolutely not, that school would be cancelled and that this was a blizzard!
A blizzard! I had only read about a blizzard in The Little House on the Prairie book series up to that point in my life. I am not sure how many days the snow fell and the winds blew but our small city of 19,000 was pretty much shut down for a week. My mom was a nurse and folks with trucks and 4 wheel drive vehicles were asked to bring in those hospital employees who couldn’t drive in if their vehicles weren’t equipped for driving in such bad weather. We, the children and teens of Defiance, OH were in heaven!! No school for a week!! I remember when the winds had stopped and the snow had finally quit, that we were allowed to bundle up and go out into the winter wonderland. Oh what fun we had! Running around, climbing on top of , and jumping off of the huge snow drifts that the howling winds had left behind. My future husband, who also grew up in a ranch style house on Maumee Drive has regaled our children with the story of he and his brother, sister, and neighbor kids being able to climb onto the roof of their house and sledding off of it into the tall drifts that were as high as the windows on their house!
Clinton Street, a major road in our town, wasn’t plowed for quite a few days, and as it ran in front of our house, we got to see the ingenuity of Defiance’s citizenry as they figured out ways to get to the Chief Supermarket. Cross-Country snow skis started making appearances, so did people pulling their kids snow sleds, or toy wagons as conveyances in carrying the groceries home. My favorite was one family who had hitched up their Saint Bernard dog to a wagon and he accompanied them to the supermarket! My dad, two neighbor men, Mr. McKinney and Mr. Koppenhoffer, managed to walk to the Chief and using wagons, brought home necessities such as bread, milk, eggs, and beer! I remember my mom chastising the men on buying beer, of all things! Dad did manage to snag an apple pie and he said the shelves were getting pretty empty in the store from items selling out and the supply trucks not being able to make deliveries yet.
For a scientific read, I did discover that someone put The Blizzard of 1978 on Wikipedia, and you can read about it at this link.
While I can’t tell my children that I walked 10 miles to school in horrid weather, and I can’t tell them about surviving a chicken pox epidemic(I had the chicken pox, but only a few spots!), I can tell them proudly that I did survive the Blizzard of ’78!