Cumberland, Rhode Island

I remember it began snowing around 11am in Pawtucket. I had arrived to work at Hasbro at 7am and as the rest of the office staff arrived, about the only question on their minds was, "Do you think they will let us go home early today?" By 11am when the first snowflake was spotted, everyone on the second floor went to the windows and stared out at the weather and traffic below on Newport Avenue. Not much work was done that morning as everyone kept leaving their desks and checking the weather conditions outside. Finally after a few hours of the snow falling at a rate of one inch per hour, some of the office staff made their decision to leave and head for home. I waited until 2pm when my boss informed us that Hasbro was officially closing and sending everyone home early.

I placed a call to my girlfriend Sue, who worked at a law office located a short distance away from us on Armistice Boulevard, to see if she could also leave work and go home. Sue informed me that her boss, Mike Horan, informed the staff that they could also leave, so I left Hasbro and headed over to her office to follow her home for safety reasons. I should have known that since Sue drove a Volkswagen Bug, she would have no problem driving on the unplowed roads.

Anyway, it took us about two hours to drive from Pawtucket to the valley in Cumberland; a trip that on any other day would have taken us only twenty minutes. Sue pulled her car in the double wide driveway and I followed with my 4X4 pickup truck. After I made sure that Sue and her widowed mother were alright, I stayed for a short time to have a nice hot cup of coffee to get the chill out of my bones. As I attempted to leave and go to my own house, a few miles away, I noticed that cars were beginning to get stuck all up and down Sue's street. In fact, one car got stuck right in front of Sue's driveway which meant that I wasn't going anywhere. I went back into the house and that is where I stayed for the next five days, living with my girlfriend and her mother.

At first it was very awkward and we had to get used to each other. Sue slept in her bedroom, her mother in her own bedroom, and I slept on the parlor couch. During the day, we shoveled the walkways and the very back of the driveway, just to make it easier later. At night, we either watched TV or played board games at the kitchen table.

Maple Street, Woonsocket, February 1978
Ice age conditions near #46 Maple Street, Woonsocket. (davoov2, Wikipedia, February 1978).

After a few days, the snow stopped and the sun came out. This is when our neighborhood took on the "Currier and Ives" persona. Neighbors who we haven't seen in days were all outside shoveling and helping neighbors in need of help. Hundreds of people were walking up and down the road, just looking at the amounts of snow that had fallen on our town. Moms and dads, pulling sleds and toboggans with children on them, walked by Sue's house. Everyone you met said, "Hi there, some storm huh? Do you need any help with anything?" It was GREAT, not a car on the road (emergency vehicles only for a few days after the storm ended).

I felt that if I ever had any doubts before about Sue being the ONE girl for me, this storm certainly did help me make up my mind. Sharing such close quarters for five days really helped me get to know my future wife and mother in-law. So, I asked Sue to marry me and on June 10 of that year, Sue became my wife.

So, YES, I certainly do remember the Blizzard of '78, and in June of this year, we will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary together with our three sons who are all in the military serving their country.

Received via email, February 13, 2008.

Tue, 03/07/2023 - 00:44