Saturday, April 7, 2012

Storms, by Evelyn Taylor

One last winter discussion until next fall--this one is memories by Eve Taylor, wife of Bryant Taylor who was the son of Floyd, twin brother of Lloyd Taylor.
The years that we lived on West Main Road provided us with many experiences with ice storms and blizzards. That period from 1946 to 1968 was one of record-breaking winter storms, and "We were there."

In 1946 we lived in an 1850 gray, limestone Federal-style house which had been made into two apartments. Bryant and I and his brother Rex and his wife Dene lived side by side. The fellows were just returned from World War II, and we were starting our lives at last with civilian jobs and new homes, complete with brand new furnishings. It was an exciting time!

But we were in for excitement we had never dreamed of: a Sunday blizzard. Snow and high winds always create problems of low visibility and drifting. This day the wind was from the northwest, and at the intersection of Keeney Rd. and West Main Rd.(Route5), a huge drift formed, eventually preventing any vehicles from getting through.

As a result, cars began to come to a halt on our side of the drift. Not knowing how long they would be delayed, Bryant and Rex asked them to come in our house. Before long, we had both of our apartments full of strangers to us and to each other. There were probably more than twenty, including children and one infant.

It kept Dene and me busy raiding our "company shelves" and refrigerators to feed them. Fortunately, both of us did a lot of canning so had peaches, pears, tomatoes, applesauce, and jams and jellies to help. This went on into the early evening before the plows finally bulldozed their way through, and Route 5 was once more open. Everyone scurried to get on the road again before the drift returned.

Recalling this today, makes me realize how people really pull together in emergencies, sharing what they have and helping out in any way they can. That Sunday blizzard brought many strangers together, but each left a little bit better for the experience and no longer a stranger.

The storm did continue, and such a high drift formed between the house and barn that it was impossible to reach the animals. Bryant tunneled through the drift finally to reach the livestock and chickens. Before the storm ended, the drift reached the second story of the house, and Bryant plowed the last of it under in June.

Twenty years later in 1966 our whole family learned what a blizzard could do. The snow had been falling steadily all day and night with a wind that erratically changed directions.

We awoke to find that our front and side doors were unable to be opened because of snow piled up against them. We managed to get out the front door eventually. Now came the hard reality -- our tractor with its blade for snow plowing was inside the garage, and the snow was drifted up to the top of the garage doors; a pickup truck near the gas pump was almost completely buried; the side door had snow up to the middle of the storm door.

Our Collie dog needed to go out, so we took out the upper glass panel of the storm door and lifted her out, but the snow was too deep for her to get through. We solved that problem by letting her out into our screened-in patio at the side. Here the screens had filtered out some of the snow, which meant it was only a few inches deep, and she could handle this depth.

We all pitched in, to the best of our strength, to dig out the tractor which seemed to be the most essential piece of equipment. I cannot recall how long this nightmare lasted, but after the snow stopped, our neighbor came to clear the driveway with his tractor and hydraulic bucket. The drifts were just too big for our blade to push.

It is said that out of everything bad that happens, some good comes. All the kids in the neighborhood had several days of no school, countless drifts to burrow into to make forts, and mountains of snow to slide down.


Pat said...


Thanks so much!! I love to read about your memories, and you are so good to keep letting us use them here on the cousins blog.


CB said...

Dear Eve,
I can just imagine you scurrying around trying to feed the multitude!! Loaves and fishes!!
Whenever we have a big storm like that I think of the days when that kept the kids home from school and wish for a few more! We used to have such fun then! Today it is just worry over how can we get walk shoveled!

Tom K. said...

I suppose I don't wish for these sorts of storms, but I would have enjoyed some snow this winter. Down here in South Jersey we didn't get two inches.

Susan Kinsella said...

I have read about Midwestern winter storm events when people invited in all those stuck in cars on the road near their home. It sounds like it would be such a memorable yet also surreal event, but so kind to people who otherwise could be in an uncertain and possibly dire cold situation. Wonderful to hear that you did that!

And well I remember the blizzard of 1966! That was when the snow was so high we could get lost in snowdrifts. One night my Grandma Kinsella phoned and was terribly upset that no one answered. Understandably, she was worried about what might have happened to us, given that the roads were so full of snow that people were skiing down our main boulevard so we couldn't have gone anywhere. She was relieved to later find out that it was just that our whole family had been out that night shoveling the driveway.

Susan Kinsella said...

Beautiful picture of Yosemite - thanks, Diana!