Monday, January 14, 2008

January 13, 1950

The worst blizzard in the city's history hit that morning.  Winds roaring at a steady 40 mph blew the snow into 5 foot drifts.  Waves 20 feet high crashed over roads near the waterfront, boats were torn loose from their moorings~later smashing against rocks along the shore, trees toppled and by noon the temperature dropped to 12 degrees. 

The article in the paper said that police cars were sent to local schools to take the kindergarten students safely   home.  But what about the other kids.... the kids in 3rd grade?  The kids that were just barely 8 years old and lived 10 blocks from the school.  That was my position that day.  

Fortunately, my friend Patty (she was a year older and in the 4th grade) was with me as we trudged, for what seemed like hours thru this storm after we were released from school. 

 In later years my mom talked about that day, she was home alone, my dad was at work, there was only one car but mom didn't even know how to drive then, so it didn't matter that she had no car.  Mom was so the storm worsened she called the school~no answer.  After releasing the kids, apparently the staff left too, making no calls to the parents...they just put the kids out walking to fend for themselves. 

I do remember when Patty and I finally reached my house and came up the steps my mom opened the front door and she was sobbing.  She had been so afraid, not knowing where I was.  She related the rest of the details years later; she brought both of us in the house, turned the heat up (the power apparently did not go out) to get us warmed up.  She called Patty's mom and told her that Patty was at our house and was safe.  Mom said she'd feed us lunch and then when Patty was warmed up and her outer clothes dried out, she'd walk her home.  Patty's mom was home alone with two little ones, so it was impossible for her to leave.  Patty lived about 3 blocks away, but it was to the corner, down the hill and then turn left at the corner and go about 1/2 block.  Easy when the weather was mild butthis was a day of heavy snow & wind. When she got Patty fed and warmed up, they took off, leaving me home alone.   I remember mom saying that she kept slipping and falling into the snow as they were going down the hill to Patty's street, and Patty kept falling into drifts and mom would have to pull her out.  She finally got Patty home and then had to make that trek back to our house by herself.  In recalling this part of the day, she said the whole trip took over 2 hours.

Until this article came out in our local paper, I couldn't remember what year it happened.  And when I realized that it was January of 1950, my heart skipped a beat. My dear mother survived this ordeal when she 3 months pregnant with my brother~he was born June 6, 1950.

All I know is that if schools put children out like that now, there'd be some heavy duty lawsuits.  In those days people didn't think about that.  And most kids are bussed today anyway. 

Why they didn't just keep us there is beyond me.  It was a huge building, I'm sure there would have been enough food to feed us until the next day when the storm died down. And the next day was Saturday, dads with cars could have picked us up.   Well, we survived to tell about it~I forwarded the article to Patty (now Pat) who lives in Texas.  She emailed back that she remembers that day very well.  I'm sure all those who were of school age and living here in town, will never forget that day.


jeadie05 said...

What a memory Linda ,what would you be ? only eight or nine ,but you dont forget things like that do you ? Jan xx

justplainbill said...

Linda, I remember snow storms like that when I was a tad. We don't seem to get as many of them now as we did then. I remember delivering the evening paper in snow like that.
Stay warm, Bill

mleppard06 said...

amazing story linda, i worry about my son in school when we have bad weather, nothing compared to what you get though. stay safe and warm mrs t xxx

labdancer51 said...

Thank you for telling us this story Linda, what an ordeal you were put through. Letting young children find their own way home in such conditions wouldn`t happen today, thank goodness. Your poor mother must have been frantic with worry.

Love Sandra xxxx

breakaway1968 said...

I remember days like that when we lived farther north then we do now. Closer to Michigan...  Snow up to your thighs and everyone treated is as if it was SO normal!  It was not that normal and us kids who had to walk home in that froze!  My mom didn't have a car and neither did my best friends mom.  We had to walk a few miles.  Yes, your right now a days there would be law suits.  
That was such an interesting story and your poor mom...being pregnant!  She was doing a good deed tho and she wanted your friend to make it home safe.  I bet you were proud of her!  

lv2trnscrb said...

wow, that was a terrible experience to go through! I can imagine you and your friend having to trudge through the snow and your mom in a panic at home! You are right, things would be different these days; glad the Lord was watching over you all way back then!


hugsdoodlewacky said...

((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))They should of kept the kids in school and should of called the parents.I remember when we had a really bad snow storm like you did and they kept us in school and we called our parents.I didnt get home till 10 that night.Have a nice evening.

jimsulliv3 said...

Sounds like that was a pretty rough day. I have a similar situation when a gale hit Miami and it flooded everything. I was in the second grade and walked in waist deep water half the way home. Funny how you never forget days like that.


pharmolo said...

Sounds like a horrendous day, and quite an adventure for a young child - but frightening for all involved.

pamal3 said...

That sounded really awful. Very frightening. Glad everyone was okay. Love Pam xx

monicasmemoirs said...

I was just talking to my MIL about this.  She was still in grade school and said it took her about two hours to walk home.  She had brothers and sisters to walk wiith.  Her dad was also at work with the car. :-)


wwfbison said...

That must have been some storm - it is strange they didn't just keep you at the school and you are so right, if they did that today there would be lawsuits galore.  You guys were much tougher than though, my mom always tells me the things she did and I think, guys were tough!!!  Aren't you glad history didn't repeat itself?

mariealicejoan said...

I remember something quite similar happening to me back in the early sixties in Northern Manitoba where we were living.  There was a huge blizzard and we were all sent home from school.  You could hardly see your hand in front of your face.  I still wonder that I was able to make it home safely.  You are too right when you say that such a thing would not be tolerated today!  Nor should it be!

kaydeejay5449 said...

Hi, Linda!  Happy New Year.  I'm back from my hiatus.  I hope you have a wonderful year full of God's many blessings.
I voted in your poll ~ good question!   I am so far behind in reading and writing that I'm just reading a few entries at this time.  It's good to be back.
Hugs, Kathy

ally123130585918 said...

Linda that must have been scary ~ they would not get away with letting children out on their own these days (I'm very glad to say)  Ally x

carolelainedodd said...

What an ordeal for you all.  Fancy leaving young children to fend for themselves.  I suppose they were different times then. I remember when we had snow like that when I was at school. Our school though always kept the children until the parents came for them.  At least thats what I remember.  Memories are funny things.
Thanks for sharing your story.
Take care