Storm Pales Next To Blizzard of '78
Storm of 32 years ago will always set the standard.
Every time a major snowstorm hits us, people start breaking out their Blizzard of '78 stories. Well, at least people as old as I am do. And I am no exception.
The recent Nor'easter was in no way comparable to the massive blizzard that paralyzed this area for a solid week in 1978. But that was pretty much the event that set the standard for how we prepare for snowstorms of major size. No one wants to be caught like that again.
What made the '78 blizzard really bad was that it followed a pretty major snowstorm a week prior that had left a foot or more of snow already on the ground. My wife and I had trekked through that storm to Boston for the New England Press Association Award Dinner, where the now-defunct Norton Patriot had won an award for one of photographer Ron Baptista's excellent photographs.
When the "big one" hit, we were living on Route 140 not far from the Taunton line. We had a driveway that was about half a football field long – though it seemed a mile long when shoveling. It took us most of a day to get to the road, but it really didn't matter – cars weren't going anywhere on the snow-clogged roads.
So we pulled out a sled and walked into the center of town to the Fernandes Super Market, now the home of Aubuchon Hardware. Along the way, we stopped at the home of some of our elderly friends to see if they needed anything. And to our delight, we discovered so many others doing the same thing for their neighbors.
The store shelves were pretty much bare, with essentials like bread and milk nearly gone. I recall that week as the time I learned to like a lot of canned foods I had not previously enjoyed.
It was a storm that brought many of us back to a simpler time, when neighbors depended on each other. People were in surprisingly good moods, maybe because everyone was in the same predicament. There was no traffic, no rushing around and much less stress than you might imagine.
Now don't get me wrong – I am not longing for a repeat performance. I'm hoping the recent storm is as much snow as we get for a while. But I will always remember the spirit of that week, the camaraderie the storm inspired and the memories it gave us.
Now if I can just get up my driveway…
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and the Norton Town Moderator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.