Woonsocket, Rhode Island

Peter Gosselin school photo, circa 1978
Peter Gosselin went missing during the blizzard on February 7. His body wasn't found until the 27th. (findagrave.com).

People often forget that the Woonsocket-Manville area got the worst snowfall in all New England during the blizzard: fifty-four inches of straight fall, with eight-foot drifts.

I was a 10-year-old, attending East Woonsocket School at the time. At 10:25am on Monday, the bell rang, signaling the end of recess. As I walked inside, I saw the first snowflakes. The blizzard was on.

Within ninety minutes (if I remember correctly), Governor Garrahy had ordered an emergency evacuation of all public buildings. But, since I lived within two miles of the school, I had to walk.

By the time I was halfway home, the snow was already up to my knees. It would only get deeper. On the bright side, the topography of that area will allow me to tell kids that I really did walk uphill in the snow both ways!

But the worst thing I remember about the blizzard was the tragic death of Peter Gosselin, age 10, of Uxbridge [Massachusetts]. He had been diving off his porch roof, banged his head, knocked himself out, and died in a huge pile of snow... just a few feet from his front door.

Received via email, August 29, 2004.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 22:15