Sunday, December 20, 2009


I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR IT TO SNOW ALL NIGHT. I am a weather nut. I followed the blizzard of '78 like it was carnival that had come to town--except that it happened to be spiral bands of precipitation--like a hurricane, only it was snow--and it stalled on the coast, then hooked back in and hung around for a couple of days and several feet of snow. It was a transformative experience. I was delirious with excitement, on the phone with my brother all night, tracking this thing, imagining its power and enormity, having an inkling of its historic proportions. As kids growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut we were always thrilled by extremes of weather--I remember us sitting out in the back yard in aluminum lawn chairs holding umbrellas during a violent thunderstorm--my mother screaming at us to come in telling us we were going to be electrocuted.
In '78 I was an English teacher at Brookline High, and I remember being part of a telephone chain, calling teachers to say there'd be no school tomorrow. I remember thinking "tomorrow?" this thing is BIG!!! I was telling everyone "tomorrow" was just the beginning; make that three days--this thing is winding up and going nowhere, fast. Then it turned out to be A WEEK out of school--surpassing my wildest dreams.
It was insane. We saw the craziest things. People skiing down Mass Ave. Snow banks piled to second story windows. The guy next door --he was from Africa--he was trying to shovel his car out from under a six foot snowbank with a dust pan. Governor Mike Dukakis declaring a state of emergency while wearing a turtle neck sweater on TV--then we knew it was serious. Funny how years later, Mike in an army helmet atop a tank would make a different sort of sartorial impact.
So I'm waiting for it to snow. It's well after midnight. I think I just saw a few flakes. They're talking blizzard. I'll probably stay up and watch for awhile --Harvey is talking about a "wall of white." I've got that old feeling. Maybe I'll grab an aluminum chair and give my brother a call.

and stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I frequently reference the Blizzard of '78 as the storm by which all other storms are measured, and I haven't lived in Brookline since 1983. We lived on the 2nd floor of a building on Beacon St and could only exit through the window for a few days.