I was 10 years old during the Blizzard of ’78 in Ft. Wayne. My grandfather was a pharmacist and owned Kearns Drugs, and I remember all of us being holed up at home so long that he went out on a snowmobile to deliver people’s prescriptions to them! We all began trading groceries with neighbors after days and days because some folks still had eggs, but had run out of bread or whatever. Our mother had thought ahead and purchased powdered milk. I cannot describe it to you. Warm, too bubbly on top, thick…none of us have forgiven her for that one yet! I grew up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, and we were the small family with four kids. The Mattinglys had 14! The Sauls had 11. There were 109 kids on our block! It was a blast for us kids, spilling outdoors to play in the snow all day long. I’m sure the parents disagreed about how “fun” it was! Anyway, those memories of falling victim to Mother Nature are seared in my memory.
I know that this month has been atypical, even for Indiana. The kids can’t really play outside if the wind chill is -20◦. Lesson plans keep getting pushed back. The novelty of it is wearing off. But I live with Zionsville’s superintendent, and I wanted to share a few things you may not know. Superintendents want us to be in school! They have so, so many things to take into account to ensure our kids’ safety, though. It’s never JUST the snow that’s the concern. It’s never JUST the dark or the drifting or the ice or the snow blowing and covering the ice or the wind chill or the bus fleet or the country roads or the visibility or the possibility of popping sprinkler systems/water pipes in schools. It’s a complex combination of those elements and more that affect each weather-related decision and it is never easy.
It’s a little less frustrating for me to have us delay or close, because I live with the weight of it here. I hear Scott up at 4:00am. I hear the phone buzz at all hours from his “Morning Eyes” crew warning of this or that. Our dinners are routinely interrupted by phone calls/texts/emails about what’s coming or not coming from the air or the sky and how superintendents from Hamilton, Boone, and other counties are going to call it based on their busses, their geography (which does vary wildly), and the way the weather hits each place. It takes multiple hours and Dr. Keen is a part of it all. He’s doing all the same things. I share this because I know a few of you may feel frustrated or concerned with the amount of time we’re missing. Know that the superintendents are working on how these days will be made up. Please don’t assume all our missed days will be tacked on to the end of this year. They are considering options and time will tell how that works out.
Hang in there. The sun will warm us again someday! Nothing is forever. And the memories I have from the Blizzard of ’78 are close to my heart. The pictures of my brothers, sisters, and me standing in our snowsuits next to a mountain of snow by our driveway make me laugh. The image of my handsome Paw-Paw zooming by on a snowmobile with a satchel of medications for folks brings tears to my eyes. There’s good in all of this, I promise. In the meantime, use the extra time together to snuggle up with a stack of good books, sip hot chocolate, and create memories the kids won’t forget with that gift of time you’ve been given. All too soon, our houses will be immaculate and quiet and empty, and we’ll wish for a few close hours at home together.
Fifty-four days left til spring. We can make it!