Wicked Good Conference / Boston /

Any Blizzard of '78 survivors out there?

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Re: Any Blizzard of '78 survivors out there?

By carlbigman - Dec 12, 2008, 3:30 AM
Post #51 of 52 [In reply to]

I was stranded at work at the Holiday Inn of Burlington for 2 days and had to work all shifts as the roads were closed and the other shifts could not come in to work for 2 days. The Innkeeper put all the male cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, and function servers in a larger room together overnight and it was really very cramped. I think there were at least 9 guys sleeping on beds, in aisles on the floor, and in the entryway, too, by the coat rack that night. I got maybe 4 hours sleep and had to get up again and work the next morning, bright and early. I got a hernia on the job the next day as the tractor-trailer driver for the food purveyor's company that supplied the Inn could not back down the icy parking lot so the driver unloaded the whole truck in the front parking lot and I got stuck pulling it up over the icy stairs onto the kitchen loading dock at the rear of the Inn all by myself. Pretty much a whole trailer load, too, as we called and had them double the order as we ran out of most everything with an Inn full of stranded guests and staff. We were serving some pretty strange fare before we got that order, like mashed potatoes with a side of lettuce, as it is all we had left to feed people. I had my hernia repaired surgically about 3 days after the Blizzard and won the Employee of the Year award later that year at the Inn and got a new television as a prize along with several hundred dollars cash in an envelope, not to mention lost wages as well for about 6 weeks out of work under workmen's compensation. I just remember the incredible walls of snow and the huge snowdrifts too, everywhere, after the blizzard! I won't ever forget that nasty storm in all my life!

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Re: Any Blizzard of '78 survivors out there?

By PeacebyJesus - Mar 14, 2010, 7:54 PM
Post #52 of 52 [In reply to]

Even though its only rain, this windy stormy weekend (3-13,14) brought back memories of the Blizzard of 78.

At the time of the Blizzard I was working at Richardson's Dairy in Middleton, a job i thank God for and which gave me lots of experiences since I began scooping ice cream at age 14. By age 26 (1978) I had become a truck driver and delivery man, and the milk route mainly covered Salem, Lynn, Revere, Everett, Saugus, and parts of other locales. Most stops received their deliveries every other day, with stops in the latter 3 cities being Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

It was snowing when my partner and I got done with our route, and I expected a normal day for Tuesday. However, by later that night it had become apparent that there would be some snow to shovel to get to work. I came out to shovel before 4 AM on Tuesday, and was surprised to see so much snow, but I had a big 67 Pontiac Catalina with 15 studded snow tires, and I lived in Danvers, which had about the best snowplowing around. However, it took me a long time to shovel the 10' or so to the road, and then I could not go anywhere, and it took till after 9 PM I think until the roads were plowed somewhat.

Richardsons is a family-owned dairy farm and has its own cows, which must be milked no matter what the weather, and the milk then had to processed (clarified, pasteurizer, homogenized and packaged/bottled) almost daily, and which I usually helped doing. In addition, we were already a day behind in our deliveries, and whenever there is a storm the first 3 staples people usually wanted was milk, bread and eggs. The pasteurizer lived with his family across the street at that time, and so that Tuesday night I drove from Danvers to Middleton to help him get the milk from the barn and process it, and he also had his wife and nephew to help. Obviously, I saw very very few other vehicles on the way to the farm, while west of us 3,000 cars and trucks were stranded on Route 128.

We worked processing the milk, and I loaded my truck, and then i stayed over at the house of pasteurizer, and early next morning headed out with a helper. My first stop, which normally would have been on Tuesday's route, was Robinson's News at the Revere edge of Malden. They were open and besieged by customers, and much in need of milk, and the owner asked me to give him all I could. We normally would have given him about 35 cases for two days 10 cases of gallons (4 per case) and 15 half gallons (9 per case) but this time i gave him 90 cases total. I forget what our total load on the truck was, but even though we had our own cows and more milk would be shipped from the milk cooperative, we would soon realize that demand was far greater than our capacity to process and bottle. The owner of Richardsons would later tell me that he had gone into the week with a slight surplus of milk but ended up having to buy 600 jugs (10 gallons per jug).

Then the owner of Robinson's News asked to do him favor, and we owed him one as he loaned us his truck one day when ours broken down. He desperately needed bread, and the Wonder Bread warehouse was less than a mile down the street, and I agreed. But a milk truck is not a bread truck, and we had little room, so we loaded about 100 loaves of bread, on racks, vertically. Needless to say, when we unloaded the bread we had pancakes on the bottom layers. However, they went like pancakes, and the owner also told me he had only 10 cases of milk left. The whole trip took less than hour.

We continued the route that day (I remember how desolate Rev. Bch. Prkwy was, and not seeing any other milk trucks that day), delivering milk over snow banks, etc., and through the next few days we gave what milk we could to the stores, while back at the dairy store owners we never had met were showing up and waiting to get milk. Meanwhile, besides residents in the street cheering us like we were the mayor when they saw we had milk, I observed a social phenomenon, that of street-less cars but neighbors out pulling sleds with groceries and kids, and happily talking with each other like I had never seen before in the city. I also remember how pristine the sky was. It wasn't Heaven, but I think it the whole experience was needed.
Grace and peace thru the Lord Jesus.

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