Blizzard of ’78 memories

If you were alive and in East Central Indiana 34 years ago today, you probably — maybe with a little prompting — remember what you were doing.

You were watching the snow fall.

Yes, today — Jan. 25 — is the 34th anniversary of the Blizzard of ’78. Over a couple of days, 20 inches of snow was dumped on our heads (and roofs and roads and … ). Some people think even more snow fell, but that’s the official National Weather Service total. Two days of winds caused roads to close and created drifts up to many rooftops.

I know that it seemed like we were never going to see spring.

I’ve blogged about the Blizzard of ’78 before, but on the anniversary I’ll mention again what an experience it was.

It was infinitely preferable to the ice storm of January 2005, of course, because during the blizzard my family’s home still had electricity. We were warm and safe.

I don’t remember having run low on food — we lived on a farm, after all, and my parents not only had freezers full of meat from our own livestock but also basement shelves full of canned beans from our garden — but I do remember running low on things to do.

Over a couple of homebound days, I read and re-read a bunch of books and comic books and watched a lot of TV. Dinosaur alert: This was well before we had cable TV, of course, so we all spent a lot of quality time with Bob Gregory and other Indy TV figures.

When we could finally get out, we drove through the snow tunnel that followed the approximate route of South Walnut Street to the Southway Plaza, where we could stock up on groceries from Marsh and comic books from Hook’s.

As I’ve noted before, I don’t have any surviving photos from that time. The one posted above I found online tonight. It’s by photographer and writer Jim Garringer and shows a downtown Muncie street scene in the aftermath of the blizzard.

Few pictures — except for the ones in my head — can adequately capture the impact of the Blizzard of ’78, which had the temporary effect of keeping us out of school for weeks.

And had the permanent effect of being frozen, forever, in our collective memories.


One thought on “Blizzard of ’78 memories

  1. Mary Garza

    I was working at Ball Hospital at the time and remember being unable to get home for seven days. I worked in the nursing office where we had set up a command center. I spent many long hours trying to get nurses, doctors, and other employees in on 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, and any vehicle that could cut through the now. Many from the community volunteered to venture out into what seemed the wild blue yonder of mountainous snow. Being so short on help the first couple of days, everyone was assigned to jobs that you never dreamed you would ever do. During my first shift I worked in the kitchen making salads and helped the few that made it in prepare food for patients and employees. I remember seeing a head nurse helping to cook chicken! Staff in the Laundry provided us with clean scrubs to wear. Employees slept short shifts wherever there were empty beds. I slept my first night in the chapel, another in a conference room, and finally was assigned a bed in the pediatrics ward. We were family and everyone chipped in and helped each other. I’ll never forget those days!


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