Jane Clark, Writers Bloc
The winter of 1978 brought a welcomed four-inch snowfall on Monday, January 3rd.  My son and daughter were excited that they could use the new sled they received for Christmas.  It also gave us a chance to make our traditional snow ice cream and see who could build the best snowman.
On Wednesday, January 5, it snowed several more inches, bringing shouts of “Yeah, no school again!”  It snowed once more on Friday, providing a sparkling blanket of fresh snow for sledding. On Saturday we invited my niece and sister-in-law to our house to go sledding. We believed the snow would be gone in just a day or two, as it usually is in our area, and were sorry that others in the family wouldn’t get to join us.
To our surprise, the snow didn’t leave.  On Sunday night we had a blizzard, and by Monday morning we were snowbound!  Our car was parked in the barn, the doors blocked with three foot snowdrifts. My husband would not make it to work that day, and schools were still closed.  We thought the main highway in front of our house would be cleared by the next day, so we began the task of clearing snow from sidewalks, making walkways to the barn through the knee-deep snow and waiting for the main highways to be cleared.
  We learned that road crews were having trouble clearing the state highways and city streets.  Conditions worsened overnight as a bitter wind rearranged the snow into new snowdrifts, making our long driveway and many of the county roads impassable.  After the main highway was cleared of some of the snow, our neighbor came to our rescue with his tractor and blade, making mountains of snow as he scooped away the snowdrifts. 
The cold weather held on all through January with the temperatures not rising over 32 degrees. For several days that month it snowed again, and again and again. The water line to our house froze under the highway on January 20th. City workers were unable to thaw it until February 12!  We carried water from a neighbor farther down the road, washed clothes at the Laundromat, and only took sponge baths or went to the neighbor’s house to shower.  Being without water for more than twenty days gave us a new appreciation for this modern convenience!
 The schools were closed for five full weeks that winter, much to the delight of our children, and at that time students didn’t have to make up missed days.  I tried to keep them occupied making crafts, working puzzles, and doing school related projects.  They went sledding nearly every day and drank countless cups of hot chocolate.
When the snow finally melted, it seemed strange to see the ground again.  All the fields and lawns in our area were dead and brown.  A few clumps of ugly, dirty snow could be found here and there. We enjoy snow in this part of the Midwest, but after a couple of days it usually melts and life goes back to normal. The challenges we faced during the winter of 1978 made it one of the most memorable. 
Jane Clark is Co-Director of Writers Bloc and has been a member of the group since 2005. She is a retired advertising sales representative who enjoys writing memoirs, essays, poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared in several regional and national publications, and a copy of her first novel True Allegiance was donated to the Salem Public Library.


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