La Mirada, California

Hand-made Old Stone Hotel sign, February 1978
All sorts of businesses found themselves transformed into emergency shelters during the blizzard, including Rhode Island Hospital... and Old Stone Bank. (Old Stone Bank newsletter, March 1978).

I was a nurse at Rhode Island Hospital, working the 3 to 11pm shift. Since we lived out in Coventry at the time and it had started snowing, I left for work a bit early just so I could drive slowly and safely. Needless to say, I didn't make it home that night.

By the time dinner was being served to the patients, I-95, which passes directly in front of the hospital, was at a standstill. People were climbing down the embankment and taking refuge in the hospital lobby. I figured I'd work a double shift and head on home in the morning. As we checked the news reports on patient TVs, we realized we weren't going anywhere by morning. And when morning came, we realized we weren't going anywhere soon.

The hospital put us on twelve-hour shifts, opened up the cafeteria and provided free food around the clock to everyone. And their trays made the greatest sleds for careening down the huge mounds of snow heaped up by the plows in the parking lot. Our accommodations weren't the greatest—I slept one night on a stack of blankets on the floor of a supply closet, another night on two chairs pushed together, and yet another night on a gurney. We got scrubs from the OR since we had only the uniforms we came to work in.

As roads in the city were cleared and made passable, some of the staff was able to get home and fresh staff made it in to work. Since I lived out in Coventry, I didn't make it home till the end of the week. Despite all the inconveniences, we had a pretty good week at work!

A few years later I moved to southern California and the only snow I've seen since is on the mountains in the distance, and that's fine with me.

Received via email, June 1, 2005.

Thu, 03/09/2023 - 02:04