Thursday, January 7, 2016

The great blizzard of 1978

The Great Blizzard of 1978

We've all heard stories of blizzards and snowstorms from our parents and grandparents, tales of epic snows and the struggles each one brought.
Of course, I have a few stories of my own, but nothing compares to my grandparent's epic storms of legend.

Not unless you count the blizzard of 1978. I was 15 years old at the time of this storm, but I'll never forget that winter. We were out of school from Christmas break until Valentine's Day.

I remember the weathermen had predicted the approaching storm several days before it hit. My parents, like everyone else, had stocked up on food and supplies anticipating a few days of cabin fever. The National Weather Service categorized the storm “as a rare severe blizzard – the most severe grade of storm.” There were wind gusts up to 100 miles per hour and there were a couple of days when the wind chill was more than 30 degrees below zero. I don't know what the official snow totals were for Harrodsburg, but in our backyard we had 26 inches.

I remember the water lines froze and we didn't have water for days on end. This happened all over town, not just in the subdivision of Riverview where I lived. I remember Daddy hauling water from my grandparents farm in Bohon so we would have water to drink and cook with, as well as to flush the toilets. We also went to the laundromat in Danville to wash clothes because the ones in Harrodsburg didn't have water.

It's funny, I can remember the water lines being frozen, but I don't remember if the electricity was on or off. Our home had a gas furnace, so I guess that would have kept us warm. And I remember we had telephone service because I kept the phone lines hot talking to my boyfriend.

The first few days after the storm were fun because we could go sledding, make snow angels and have snowball fights. My younger brother and his friends made an igloo in the backyard and it was fun watching the building process. After the igloo was finished, they spent hours having the grandest snowball fights!

Although I was a tomboy growing up, I was a wimp about snow and cold weather. After the first few days, I was tired of the snow, so I spent most of my days indoors reading. At the time I owned the first 16 “Trixie Belden Mystery” books and I re-read the entire series twice during this extended vacation. But no matter how much I loved Trixie Belden, I was getting tired of reading the same books over and over again. With school closed I was not able to check books out of the library and the bookmobile was not able to travel to our subdivision. I did have "A Wrinkle in Time" checked out from school, but even Charles Wallace and the Tesseract were not enough to hold my boredom at bay.

And bored became an understatement! After the first week, I would wake early every weekday, only to be disappointed when the radio announced school was closed again. I was actually envious of the Harrodsburg students because they went back to school sooner than we did.

Needless to say, I was so excited to go back to school - to see my friends, to see my boyfriend, to get new books from the library, and ending the overpowering boredom of cabin fever. This will probably be the snowstorm story I tell my grandchildren, and I'm sure the tale will get exaggerated, just the way my grandsparents' and my parents' stories did. But one thing is for sure, I will always remember the beauty and power of the Blizzard of 1978.

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