The Blizzard of 1978 #Blizzard

So with all the news of the blizzard going on back east, I thought I would write about my experience of living through the infamous Blizzard of 1978. I don’t miss having to endure the current snow in the northeast.

The Blizzard of 1978 occurred from Feb 5-7, 1978. This was just about a month shy of my 30th birthday. I was living in a house in Newton Highlands about a block from Rt 9. I was working for DEC at the Mill in Maynard, MA. Typically on normal days that was about a 30 minute commute.

In the days before the storm, the forecasting didn’t predict the eventual severity of the storm. So many people got stuck, seriously stuck in places they would rather not be.  Here are some pictures.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones. My boss told everyone at about 10 am to get going home. Anyone who waited until 2 or 3 pm to leave got stuck. Somehow, I knew that this was going to be a big one. I decided to give my girl friend Paula (who at the time was my girl friend of about four months) a call. I gave a her a call and reached Paula’s roommate Joan. So Joan tells me that Paula was sleeping after working a midnight shift at Children’s Hospital.

Wake her up I say. I knew I was treading in dangerous ground here. It could be a real test of our relationship don’t you think? I eventually got Paula on the phone. I tell her that I would be by in 45 minutes to pick her up. I explained the storm situation and that if she didn’t get going we wouldn’t see each other for 4-5 days. Okay she says.

So an hour later, I manage to pick her up at her apartment in Brookline and then another hour to my place in Newton. Finally we settle in for the duration.

Later that night with the snow and wind howling outside, we get to bed and keep each other warm. Then at about two am, the phone rings. The phone call was from Paula’s Dad out here in San Pedro. Harold had called Paula’s apartment in Brookline and Joan give him my phone number in Newton. Remember this was long before cell phones, smart phones, flip phones, etc. We just had the land lines.

Harold (Paula’s Dad) already knew about our relationship. Paula had traveled home to San Pedro for the 1977 Christmas holidays. And I called her every day at about 9 am west coast time. And I usually got to talk to Harold before I got to talk to Paula. So I roll over and hand the phone to Paula and tell her it’s your Dad. All Harold cared about that Paula was safe. And she was.

Once the storm had run its course, we started to dig out. No snow blowers or plows. Just shovels. It took a long time to get the driveway shoveled. But it didn’t matter, we couldn’t go anywhere. We were in a state of emergency and cars were forbidden. We took the opportunity to do snow angels in the middle of the east bound lane of RT 9.

By the evening of Feb 7th rolled around we were developing a serious case of cabin fever. So we decided to take the Green Line into Brookline Village to go to an Irish Pub called the Village Coach House. So we had a wonderful time listening to an Irish band and drinking Guinness. So all things have to come to an end, as does this. We staggered home on the Green Line (no designated driver required).

The next day, Paula was scheduled to work the evening shift at Children’s. Somehow she managed to hitch-hike into Brookline to the hospital.

One more story, then I’ll shut up. in the Spring of 1978, DEC was relocating our department from the Mill in Maynard to a new building in Tewksbury. DEC in its generosity was paying for my relocation. Companies don’t do that much anymore.

Paula and I found a house in Billerica. When we were looking at the house in March there was still much unmelted snow from the winter storms. There was so much snow that I didn’t realize until we moved into the house that there was a five foot boulder in the front yard.

So we eventually got married in October of 1978. We lived in Billerica until 2012. A total of 36 years. And no, Mike isn’t 36 years old, but you get the picture.

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