Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blizzard of '77 Anniversary - Do You Remember?

This YouTube video is a MUST see! If you want, fast forward through the first 1 minute which is just informational slides and you will get to pictures and radio sound bits. THIS is what I remember winter to be like. I was 6 1/2 years old then, in the prime of my "Let's play in the snow" days. Yes, it snowed for days on end. Yes, my siblings and I were sledding off of our neighbor's garage roof. Yes, school was closed for days. Yes, there were snow mountains everywhere. Yes, those industrial plow sized "snow blowers" & front loaders cleared the city streets.

I am glad I am old enough to have memories from this great blizzard that gave Buffalo the bad rap with snow but I am also glad that I was young enough to not have to deal with the responsibility aspect of such a storm. It was all fun and games for me. Happy 32nd anniversary Blizzard of '77!


Marty said...

I'm glad I didn't get stuck. I remember I was a junior at UB and was between classes that morning. A University cop was going up and down the sidewalks on campus telling everyone that classes were canceled. Everyone should go home. A huge storm was coming. Weird, it didn't look threatening. It was sunny, with a mild breeze. A couple of us thought we might just hang out, but it looked like people were all leaving. So I headed for the bus stop. I think it started to snow while I was waiting for the bus. By time I got home it was snowing harder. I don't remember much of the day. I think Dad must have come home early that day, otherwise he wouldn't have gotten back at all until days later.

Two things from later in the week. The older siblings were home 24 hours a day with all you younger brats. We didn't even try to shovel the snow. A couple of days later, Paul F., who lived just a few blocks away, called and said he *had* to get out. He was coming over and we were going to walk over to the old man's bar a couple of blocks away. His house was a 10 minute walk away. An hour later, he still hadn't arrived. When he got to our house, we said "Where the hell were you?" He said "You've got to go out in this. It's unbelievable!" It wasn't snowing anymore, but *nothing* had been plowed. We walked two blocks down the sidewalks over chest-deep drifts. I wasn't sure we'd ever get to the end of our street, let alone the bar. It took a good half hour. We got there and the place was open, with a couple of old local drunks there. We warmed up, dried off, had a couple of beers, then headed back through the man-paths we had plowed through the drifts.

Some time later, after some of the streets were plowed, but people were still not allowed to drive (still lots of buried cars, etc) Jimmy Leisner, who drove a cab and was allowed on the roads, gave us a tour at night. It was amazing! A seemingly deserted, post apocalyptic city. Hundreds of abandoned cars, buses, trucks, all over the roads. We had to weave around huge blockades of them.

A few days later, everything opened up. It took hours for Chris, Paul, and me to shovel our place out. It was so hard, we didn't think we could actually ask enough to make it worth our while to shovel other people out, though I think we helped some neighbors. People were still getting around on snowmobiles and cross-country skis in the city for several days after car traffic was allowed.

In the aftermath, the city was a sloppy mess as the stuff started to melt. Snow had been piled up on public golf courses and parks, and some of it was still melting in June. Some of the small lakes formed in the parks by snow melt were there much of the summer.

Amy said...

Holy crap, Marty!
What an amazing story! What great memories.

BTW, I want to say that Dad was stranded downtown for a day or two...but I am not sure.