Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I should have known better

It has been warm for two days...by our standards!  That means the dog doesn't have pee icicles hanging from her bum when she comes in from the cold. That was short lived.  Back in the deep freeze.

March is just around the corner.  This usually means we are going to get the crap beat up out us by that one last Colorado Low.  It's always in the back of your mind .... will she hit or miss us.

I remember the worst storm ever in March 4th.1966.  I lived in a small apartment here in Winnipeg with two other girls, one being Gord's sister Tessa.  Tessa was to be married that Friday in our hometown about 75 miles away. Gord went home on Thursday to help out with the arrangements and I was supposed to follow on Friday after work with his brother and girlfriend.

I can't remember where the other roommate went to that weekend but she wasn't there. 

On Friday morning when I got up it was storming.  I made it to the bus stop.  The bus almost made it into the city center where I worked but it got stuck.  The driver told us to get out and try to get another bus going back home.  It was storming so bad you could hardly see a foot in front of you in a open area.  I crossed the street with all the others.  We stood and waited.  We waited...and waited until we were almost frozen.  Finally we saw a bus in the distance and it picked us up and started to drive us back south to our area of town.

Within two blocks from my apartment he got stuck and were asked to get off..  I assume he was going to call for help but we weren't allowed to stay on the bus for warmth. Just get off!  Lucky for me I was only two blocks from my apartment.  I remember trudging through huge snowbanks and two blocks seemed like forever. 

When I finally got to my street I realized I was stranded and didn't have any food in the house in case this was going to last any longer.  We lived pretty frugal in those days.   There was our favorite  little mom and pop shop on corner that was still open when I got there.  I still remember I bought a 6 pack of coke, a pack of smokes, some bread and balonie..haaa...how befitting. However, it was Friday and payday and I didn't have any money in my pocket. I asked to write a cheque and it was agreed to because they knew who I was.  And then I trudged back to the apartment half a block away. 

I was socked in.

We didn't have a TV.  But we did have a radio so I could get updates on the weather.  We lived in a basement apartment suite.  The windows were covered with snow I couldn't even look outside.  Every now and again I would go to the main level to look out to see what was happening. The snow banks only got higher.

But we did have a phone.  So I could keep in contact with  my family and Gord and his family.  But is was used sparingly because it was "long distance."  LONG DISTANCE .. was a dirty word in those days. You only called long distance if someone had died.

I spent Friday in seclusion listening to the radio, watching the snow from the door of the apartment block, drinking coke, smoking the odd cigarette and eating balonie sandwiches.  Man it was lonely.  The radio reports told me we might be socked in for a few more days.

Everyone that couldn't get a bus home or a ride was stranded downtown in the place that they worked or in large department stores which took them in. Eatons and The Bay...put a lot of people up in there furniture departments where they had beds and mattresses.

Saturday:  I spent most of the day listening to the radio, reading books I had already read and was getting a little antsy about the wedding.  Would it still happen?  Long Distance ..... I was left out of the loop.  Gord's brother Ron was still in the city as well with his girlfriend.  He lived about three blocks from me and his girlfriend had left her job just in time to get to his apartment on Friday.

Around 5:00 pm Gord's bro and his girlfriend showed up and knocked on my half covered up, snow laden apartment window.  I was never happier to see anyone in my life.  They said the plows were out  and the wedding was going to happen on Sunday. 

We left for the country that morning.

My poor mother in law.  She had all the food for the wedding supper on Friday prepared  and it had to be redone.  It wasn't a huge wedding .. maybe 40 people...and she had to try to save it. .  She was able to save a lot of it  but I felt so bad for her.  She wasn't well at the time and she threw her heart into making a beautiful supper.  She was able to save some stuff...but not the potato salad.  We have a running joke about how mad mom was that her famous potato salad was ruined by the storm and had to be redone.  Peeling potatoes was not her favourite pastime.

I remember going home that Sunday for the wedding and you could hardly see the ditches on the side of the highway because the snow was so high.  If I remember correctly it was only one lane...and you had to be careful.

They did finally get married, the food was good and they made their baby to be Christopher legal. Trust me this was not a happy event for all the parents...as they were devoted Mennonites and Lutherans ....but that is a story for another day. After all this was 1966.

 After the wedding I went home to my parents house to give them shit for not taking my "collect calls."  Like I said they were getting a little tired of me calling collect...heh. But yeah they were glad to see me. And I was so glad to see them.  I wanted my mommy.  suck.

I tried to find pictures on the net of the storm.  But no luck. 

Hope we don't see another one like that.  It was kind of fun looking back. 

Balonie....backing up the truck..


Sally said...

Love this story, Joan. Oh yeah, l966, those were the days. :)

judemiller1 said...

It seems the snow storms were worse back then. We lived in the country and the snow plow didn't come through for 3 days. We loved those snow days--staying in our p.j.'s all day and playing games. Such fun.
Great story, Joan.