Mommy’s Piggy Tales: Blizzard of ’78

Janna of Mommy’s Piggy Tales began a project to share our youth with our children. Every Thursday, I will tell a story about my childhood as if I were telling it to my children. At the end of this project, I’ll have a collection of stories about my childhood for my children to keep, and hopefully treasure.

* * * * * 

Now, where did I leave off last time?

Oh, that’s right…there was a blizzard.

Technically, this story happened in third grade shortly before my ninth birthday, and this week I’m supposed to tell you about fourth grade. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Since we lived in a small town, we drove quite a few miles to go buy groceries. We had a small market down the block for when we needed a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, but we drove about 45 minutes away to buy the bulk of our supplies. One January day, my dad took my sister and me shopping with him, leaving my mom at home with my brother, almost 2, and my sister, about five months old.

The groceries were packed in the trunk. It was snowing. The wind was picking up. We got on the highway, but it was slow going. Dad would have missed the exit for Rantoul, but my sister spotted it just in time. We had only traveled a few miles, but we weren’t going to make it home. We entered the lobby of the Holiday Inn, and Dad got us the very last available room. Since the blizzard was so bad, the hotel let other stranded travelers sleep in the lobby that night.

We didn’t have our pajamas, so we slept in our underwear. There was so much snow that we couldn’t leave the next day, and there wasn’t much to do except wander around the hotel. My sister and I were very jealous of the girl who had her swimming suit with her! We wanted Dad to let us swim in our underwear, but he didn’t think that would be a good idea. At least the groceries in the trunk were going to stay cold, he told us.

Meanwhile, my mom was at home, snowed in with her two littlest babies. My little sister was sick. Mom was so concerned about Heather’s breathing that she slept on her back, with Heather snuggled on top of her, for the entire night. I don’t think Mom actually got much sleep! The next day she called a nurse in town for help, and soon after some men on snowmobiles arrived with medicine.

We had to stay at the hotel one more night. It was very strange, having to wear the same underwear and same clothes for three days in a row. After the second night, the weather cleared enough for us to finally drive home. The groceries had indeed stayed cold in the trunk…in fact, they were quite frozen.

And then came fourth grade, where, after such a long wait through Kindergarten, First, Second and Third Grades, I finally received what I had longed for…HOMEWORK! The primary grades were over, and yet my school career was just beginning.

Watership DownFourth grade brought long division and longer books to read. Our teacher had a racetrack bulletin board; it was a game; a race to show our independent reading. When our little cars reached the end of the racetrack, we received a book of our very own! I reached the end twice that year. The first book I picked was based on a movie I had just seen with my dad and my sister in the theater…Star Wars! The second book had a picture of a rabbit on the front, but it was a bit beyond me at the time. When I finally picked it up to read at an older age, Watership Down became one of my favorites.

There’s so much more to come….

15 Replies to “Mommy’s Piggy Tales: Blizzard of ’78”

  1. Wow…what a story…memory maker!!! As a mom I can so see my kids asking to go swimming. I can also remember many nights of my own being sick and sleeping on my stomach. Enjoyed!!!!

  2. That's actually very sweet about your mom making sure your sister was ok by letting her sleep on her.I can't believe you got snowed in overnight and the whole next day.

  3. Another great story in your great writing style! Isn't it funny how an event that was probably pretty stressful for your parents turned out to be such an adventure for you?

  4. I loved Watership down… and can't wait to read it to my son. I can't belive a snowmobile of dr.'s came to your house.. cool. I can't believe it was a 3 day blizzard.. We never had that in NY. LOL…

  5. oh, I am your newest follower your 100th… do I get a prize only kidding.. love the lemon wallpaper.

  6. Your story was so sweet and made me think that perhaps some chronicling of my past might be cathartic and insightful. Thanks for stopping by my blog today thru SITS.

  7. I LOVE Watership Down! Isn't it funny how much we looked forward to having homework when we were little? LOL!

  8. Love this idea! Ginny, you always have such wonderful stories! It's awesome that you are saving them away like this on your blog so you'll always have them (you know…if blogs stay put for hundreds of years…haha). That 1978 blizzard was a huge one! I was born a few years later, but my mom and dad still talk about it- I have a picture of my dad standing next to a mountain of snow almost as tall as he is (he's 6'6''!)- it was his car, buried in snow! Have a wonderful weekend:)

  9. Oh my goodness, that's quite a memory! I can only imagine how freaked out your mom must have been. And what luck to go out for groceries just to have a blizzard strand you away from home. Besides being a wonderful story for your daughters to hear, they'll also learn to always keep a change of clothes in the car…and maybe a swimsuit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I love how you tell your stories. There is such a love for life.It's funny the things kids worry about like the same underwear for 3 days and no swimming. It would be interesting to hear your dad's recollections.Glad your sister got the medicine!

  11. I love love love Watership Down. I need to read it again. And I understand the desire for homework. however, I don't believe I liked it after a while! I'm glad you made it safely home from the storm. That would have been an adventure to be sure!

  12. This is a great idea – you're going to end up with a fab collection of stories ๐Ÿ™‚ And I loved reading about the snow… what an experience!

  13. What a great memory, we got snowed in quite a bit when I was young, but we always were at home! And Watership Down remains one of my favorite books of all time!!

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