Saturday, April 30, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Weather

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. This is week 18: Weather. Do you have any memorable weather memories from your childhood? How did your family cope and pass the time with adverse weather? When faced with bad weather in the present day, what do you do when you’re stuck at home?

About the Blizzard of 1978 from "A savage blizzard packing hurricane force winds dumped up to four feet of snow on many parts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut between the 6th and 7th of February 1978. Not only did the deep snows paralyze highway traffic, but because of the mountainous waves it created during record high tides hundreds of people were sent fleeing from their coastal homes, their houses reduced to rubble. Fifty-four died and highways and neighbor streets alike were left clogged with abandoned, snow-covered vehicles. It was many days before community life returned to normal."

I lived in Dedham, a town just southwest of Boston. I was in seventh grade, and saw the snow when it started to fall outside my classroom window on the morning of Monday, February 6. I remember that we got out of school early that day, but don't remember what time. My dad worked in Boston and my mother called him at work that morning and insisted he come home early because this was going to be a bad snowstorm. Luckily, Dad listened to her and left work early enough to drive home. Many didn't and either were stuck in their cars or were stuck in their downtown offices for days. May 13, 2011 edit: actually, Mother tells me that she had to call him several times that morning. He finally left Boston between noon and 1 pm, coming out to Dedham by way of the Jamaicaway. If he had come out of Boston by way of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 128, he would have been stuck.
The four of us in front of our house after the Blizzard of 1978
I had three younger brothers and we enjoyed our unexpected vacation! When the snow finally stopped, by Wednesday morning, the front of the house had such large snowbanks that we couldn't open the front door; we had to go out the back door! Of course, as kids, we thought this was quite an adventure. We loved playing in the snow, building snow forts and snowmen. Being an era before video games and computers, we played lots of board games after coming inside from playing in the snow.

Route 128, Dedham, MA, February 1978
Because our street was a loop (dead end) off a dead end street, the plows didn't get to our street for days. Later that week, on an outing to get groceries, we walked over one of the bridges over Route 128/Route 95 on the Dedham / Westwood line and looked down on the highway where cars had all gotten stuck in the snow because there had been an accident a couple of miles south and the cars backed up all the way back to Needham and got buried in the snow as the snow fell faster than the cars could move.

This image, left, is the most memorable part of this storm for me. My dad likely took all these pictures.

Route 128, Dedham, MA, February 1978
Most cars were abandoned and, according to, it took more than a week and help from the National Guard to dig them all out. These photos were taken from Route 1A on the Dedham / Westwood line looking down on Route 128 southbound. It must have been several days after the storm, as the snow on the tops of the cars is mostly melted.
 Thank you Amy Coffin for suggesting this idea for a blog post.

1 comment:

  1. I was also in school when the Blizzard of '78 started. They let us out early, and by the time I walked home the snow went from ankle deep to over my knee! It fell so fast! I remember waking up and the house was dark because all the windows were under snow, it had drifted and covered our little one story house. Dad tunneled out the front door and I wish he had taken a photo! We lived in Holden, Massachusetts, so we didn't get as much as the coastal areas.