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 upset...as 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.