Saint Paul, Minnesota

How can I ever forget the Blizzard of '78? I was a senior at Pawtucket West High School, and I had an after school job doing day care at the YMCA downtown. I would get picked up by the van driver on East Avenue after school, along with a whole lot of children. I, my friends, was enclosed in a van with about a dozen eight- to twelve-year-old boys while the snow fell and the traffic slowed. Normally, it would take us maybe twenty minutes to get the kids to the Y, where they had gym and other activities until about 5:30pm, when their parents began picking them up after work. I remember being stuck at a dead stop in front of the old New York Lace Store on Lonsdale Avenue. The volume in the van was a bit surreal and the boys were really keyed up, as you might imagine. By the time we got to the Y, it was time for the kids to go home. It took some of their parents awhile to get there, as I recall.

Wayland Square, Providence, February 1978
Skiers and walkers negotiate partially plowed streets and curbside snow piles in Providence's Wayland Square. (Alfredo Esparza, February 1978).

I don't remember how I got home to my apartment on Mineral Spring Avenue. I know that some of my friends walked miles from downtown Providence and had very frightening experiences. We had just done some grocery shopping, and the larder was stocked. I remember the next two weeks as being very cozy if a bit surreal. People had to walk everywhere and there was a renewed sense of community. That was the year I seriously began learning to cook. I also went on to teach, so I guess the experience in the van wasn't too harrowing.

Living in Arizona and Texas, I began to miss the snow. It's fun here in Minnesota where folks have no choice but to celebrate winter and hunker down by the fire when it gets bad.

Received via email, July 27, 2008.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 22:25