Oxford, Mississippi

I was working at Miriam Hospital in Providence as a secretary/phlebotomist for the lab. Although [it was] only a mile or so from home it took me an hour and a half to get down Blackstone Boulevard to my small apartment on the East Side near Wayland Square. I was happy to get there safely.

All of us who lived in the house (which had four apartments) made it home that day. When I woke up the following morning I was absolutely amazed! I couldn't get out of the apartment from the side door entrance since the wall of a twenty-foot "snow drift" covered one side. I had to go through my landlord's apartment to get to the front door. The snow was at least waist high. It was incredible!

I remember the camaraderie of neighbors and strangers. We all made small narrow pathways through the snow [and] walked to grocery stores to get the basics. Cars and busses were covered in snow. Everything had stopped because the snow was overwhelming... yet it was beautiful. We helped one another, shared meals, shopped for elders, and made the best of it.

Students from RISD and Brown used Angell Street to ski on... while music blasted out of dorm windows.

Street skiing, Providence, February 1978
"After the blizzard, Brown University students take on a ski jump on Providence's College Hill." George Hadley, Lincoln. (The Rhode Islander Magazine, February 6, 1994).

My brother (who was working at Rhode Island College as an administrator) tried to walk home (his car was stuck in the parking lot) but ended up staying with strangers because the snow was so intense and high. The family lived close to the college. My brother left the following morning with goodies packed for him to eat (meatball sandwiches and fruit) and some extra warm clothing. He walked eight miles to get back to the East Side, not far from where I was living at the time.

I know it was tough for elders—many people died because of lack of heat, or they were stranded and not able to get help. When I did go back to work a few days later I got there by renting cross-country skis. It was the easiest way for many to travel in such high snow. I will always remember that experience as one of the most magical and enjoyable times of my life. I was twenty-two years old at the time.

I am now living in Northern Mississippi near Oxford. My husband and I recently left New Orleans after living there eleven years and surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We were lucky to live in an area that didn't flood. I guess interesting weather happens to me!

Note: Artists Pati D'Amico and her husband William Warren were the owners of The Waiting Room Gallery which opened at 139 Matthewson Street in Providence in 1996 and had a twelve year run ending in New Orleans in March of 2008.

Received via email, May 16, 2009.

Wed, 03/01/2023 - 01:32