For most of last week, I was in the midst of a blizzard — a storm of memories.
When I asked for remembrances of the “Arctic Hurricane” of 1975, I expected a positive response — after all, I had experienced it myself and knew it was a memorable weather event — but could not have anticipated all that would be forthcoming.
Obviously, the severity of that storm has not been forgotten, and I’d like to thank all those who submitted memories and photos. I got in as many as I possibly could, filling up four pages of Saturday’s edition of the newspaper. As many of you noted, we haven’t experienced a storm of that severity since 1975 — and we all hope it’s at least another 40 years until we do.
As I read through the entries and queried my own family and friends about their memories, many of my own rose to the surface of my brain. I was just a few weeks short of turning 12 that January. I vaguely recall getting out of school early that day and can envision the buses lined up in front of West Elementary and the ferocity of the wind as we exited the building.
But my most vivid memories of that blizzard are of its aftermath. I was a Daily Globe carrier, and the paper was undeliverable during the storm, so at its end I faced the daunting task of delivering three issues of the newspaper to my 80+ customers in Okabena Heights. The Globe was an afternoon paper at the time, and my family generally didn’t help me with this job — and I don’t specifically remember them doing so even in this instance — but I have to think they gave me a helping hand, as skinny little ol’ me couldn’t possibly have carried three-days of papers at once. I do remember donning my bright blue snowmobile suit and heading out over the drifts and occasionally sinking down into them up to my waist. The hardest part, in many cases, was just finding a door to which the paper could be delivered.
My brother, Marty, reminded me of the struggle we had getting out of the door at our house at the blizzard’s end:
“I will never forget the Arctic Hurricane of January 1975. It is embedded in my memory just like the shooting in Dallas of JFK and the birth of our first child. 1975 was my sophomore year at Worthington Junior College, and I was still living at home. We listened to the howling winds and saw the snow falling that night and knew we would be pretty socked-in that next morning, but we couldn’t believe what we saw the next morning. As Dad and I together pulled up the double garage door at 406 Galena St., we were aghast to discover that the snow was right to the top of the heavy wood door – solid most of the way to the street! Since we did not have a snow blower and nowhere to actually throw the snow, we had to walk the massive snowfall through the house, out the back door and into the backyard at my childhood home. This was the one and only time we ever had to complete this kind of snow-removal task. I also recall that was the winter before I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and have speculated the tumors that were discovered the following May were probably already present in my body. 1975 was an interesting and life-changing year for me and my family, and it all started with the Arctic Hurricane event – something we thankfully haven’t been witnesses to ever since.”
Looking back through the Daily Globe issues of the time, my mom’s column in that 1975 week reminded me that we spent some of the storm’s three-day duration in the kitchen — I was her apprentice as she tried out some new recipes. While the guys were doing the digging out and tramping all that snow through the house, DotMom and I were probably cooking up a hearty breakfast for them, as she printed these recipes for Baked Pancakes with Cinnamon Cream Syrup, credited to family friend Betty Gundermann
Beat 2 eggs until frothy. Add ½ cup milk; beat well. Stir in ½ cup flour, a dash of salt and dash of nutmeg or 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat lightly.
Melt ¼ cup margarine in a large skillet with a heatproof handle. Pour batter in skillet and bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Cut into pie-shaped pieces for serving.
“I serve from the pan to keep pancakes warm,” noted Betty. “I always put two pans in the oven at the same time and have a third batch of batter ready to pour in pan if needed.”
Cinnamon Cream Syrup: In small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, ½ cup light corn syrup, ¼ cup water and ½ to ¾ teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup evaporated milk. Serve warm over pancakes, French toast or waffles.