San Francisco, California

I was attending Rhode Island College, where I worked as a student assistant in the Adams Library. My girlfriend, RL, was working in Johnston near the intersection of Route 6 and Atwood Avenue. We lived in Washington Corners, Coventry, down beside one of the many rivers threading their way through town. As many will recall, we'd only recently gotten our power back after a monstrous ice storm that hit just a couple of weeks earlier.

RL had clients scheduled until late in the afternoon, but since RIC decided to close in the mid-afternoon, I headed for Johnston in our tiny 1976 Honda Civic (without snow tires) even as a couple of feet of snow had already fallen. I made my way over to the Howard Johnson's near her workplace and waited around drinking coffee until she was ready to go, sometime after 4pm. It was clear that our usual route home, Scituate Avenue to 116 going south past the reservoir, would be impassable, so I decided to take 295 south to 95, opting to enter on New London Pike—Arnold Road and Tiogue Avenue.

Howard Johnson postcard, circa 1960s
Postcard of the Johnston Howard Johnsons, circa 1960s. (Collection of Louis McGowan).

Once we got rolling the snow really got heavier. I knew that we had to keep going by momentum and that using the brakes would trap us for sure. I literally and honestly drove all the way home without using the brakes, many times just driving right around those who had made the mistake of doing so. I never stopped until I reached home. I can't but wonder at the fate of those in the far larger cars I passed, but that tiny little car performed a miracle and plowed through the snow to get us home. The ice storm scared a lot of people, so neighborhood stores were already empty of basics.

We spent the rest of the week walking the dogs and eating what was still available while watching the great Jack Cavanaugh (then still bald and chubby behind his horn-rim glasses), who almost single-handedly kept the newsroom of WJAR going during the crisis. I am not sure, but didn't he get a local Emmy for that?

Anyway, twenty-eight years and seems like yesterday.

Received via email January 21, 2006.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 21:02