I got my toes in the water....ass in the sand...not a worry in the world...a cold beer in my hand...life is good today...life is good today...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Everybody has a story about the Blizzard of 1978, here is mine. I was 7 years old and living on Lynn Shore Drive, 35 Lynnway to be exact. My mother & I lived on the first floor of a two family house and my grandparents lived upstairs. The day started out a little odd for me, I woke up on Tuesday morning and I wasn't feeling well. My Mom had already left for work, so my Grampie decided that it would be best if I stayed home. I remember watching the news sitting in the middle room of my Grandparents house. The middle room was where my Grandmother had her hospital bed. She had MS and was bedridden. I was sitting in my Grampie's big black leather recliner that he slept in most of the time to be close to my Nana. I was wrapped up in a big blanket and I was extremely itchy, but I hadn't told anybody that part yet. My Grampie and I were watching Harvey Leonard on channel 5, he was predicting a huge snow storm while every other metrologist said we would only get 3 inches. My Mom was a day care driver. She used her car to drive kids from their homes or school to their daycare providers house and vice versa. Anyway my Grampie had called and told her that he kept me home from school that day and she wasn not that happy. But as it turns out it was a good idea because not only was I not feeling well but I also had the chicken pox. At about noon time, I remeber my Grandfather telling me that they were dismissing the kids from school anyway because the snow was getting bad. Nobody was prepared for what was to come. We couldn't have been, there was just no way to anticipate the devastation that would follow this Blizzard for a lot of people, and my family especially.
Soon after 5:00PM, we lost power. We spent the majority of the night huddled together under blankets with my mother singing "Silent Night" in her not so good voice. I am definitley not a fan of that song anymore. We had a closed in porch on the second floor that we could see the beach from. We stood out there and we watched the waves as they crashed into the ocean wall. Somewhere between 5:00 and 8:00pm was high tide and those waves completely tore through the ocean wall and came spilling onto the Lynnway. We watched as the waters rose and got closer and closer to our house. We had 7 feet of ocean water in front of our house. We could hear of furniture slamming around into the walls in our apartment below. Our house was attached to a Richdale store and we could hear the freezer cases floating around and banging into the side walls of our house. We watched out the windows of the porch and we saw men swimming by. When they saw our lights on the came to our house to cathc their breath. They were fire fighters who were swimming in the freezing ocean waters to help people that were stranded. Thus began my love of firemen. My Mom made them coffee and gave them warm blankets and they didn't forget about us. Hours later when the ocean water kept rising higher and higher, my Mom and my Grampie realized that it wasn't going to be safe for us to stay at our house anymore. But my Nana couldn't very well get up and walk out of the house, nor could we because the ocean was blocking our way. That's when the calvary aka the Lynn Fire Depatment, who never forgot about us showed up in front of our house in an amphibus boat. It was a boat that could drive on water as well as land. They carried my Nana out of our house on a stretcher and brought her on the boat. My Mom, my Grampie, and me with the chicken pox and my doll Jenny left on the same boat. Never to ever live in that house again.
We had no where to go. My Grandmother had to be taken to Lynn Hospital, where thankfully they kept her safe. My Mom called my Aunt Sue and told her what happened and she didn't even hestiate when she took us in. The firemen brought us to Rogers Ave in Lynn. When we got to her house with nothing but the clothes on our back, we had to pass through a tiny tunnel that my Uncle Freddie had dug out. To me this was the best day ever! I was 7 yeard old, I was going to live with my cousins. I had no idea that my Mom had just lost everything. Her car that she used for her job. Her apartment with all of our furniture and clothes. We had nothing and to a single parent that is truly devestating.
I remember waking up the next day and there was so much snow. 27 to 28 inches of snow to be exact. That's crazy considering that only one metreologist predicted more than 3 inches. We could look out the 2nd story windows and touch the snow banks. I remember that my Aunt Judi walked all the to Rogers Ave pulling my cousin Dena on a sled to make sure that we were alright. It took days for people to actually be able to drive on the streets. When we could drive my Aunt Judi took us to our house on the Lynnway. We have pictures of my cousin and I standing what looked like a huge snow bank, but in reality was my mother's car. I remember seeing my Mom cry and I remember that reality was finally setting in for us.
Months went by and we continued to stay with my Aunt and Uncle. My Nana stayed in the hospital. Then things finally started to look up. My Mother's friend Millie helped us to get elderly housing for my grandparents through her Mom. Her Mom was on the school committee in Lynn and pulled some strings to help us. My Aunt Sue's sister in law Mary(RIP) got my Mom a job at West Lynn Creamery as a customer service representative. That is now Garleick Farms in Lynn and 35 years later my Mom still works there. My got a new apartment on Rogers Ave. Crazy at it may seem, but it was an apartment that my cousin Dena had lived in years before we did. I remember it had the biggest bathroom that I had ever seen. I started school at Cobbett Elementary, going to school with my cousins from Rogers Ave.
Needless to say the Blizzard of 1978 altered my life and definitley my Mom's life forever. Hindsight, I would say things definitely happen for a reason. Like that was the first time that my Grampie kept me home from school without talking to my mom. If not I would've had to walk home by myself in a blizzard. Also my Mom got a new job that gave her stability, benefits and a pension. It's weird the things that you remember, like the smell of the ocean in front of my house or the taste of the salt in my mouth when we were driving in that boat. Being wrapped in a yellow blanket and holding tight to my doll that I still have to this day.
I would love to hear your story. Peace out and Happy Blizzard 2013.