It Was 20 Years Ago Today

This morning I was so absorbed in the TV coverage of a huge blizzard headed for New England that I was late getting out the door. No Friday Coffee Club for me. The ride in was miserable. One of the DC TV weathermen mentioned that his least favorite kind of weather is cold rain. Amen, brother.

The Blizzard of 2013 (which the Weather Channel insists on calling Nemo) was forecasted to bury Boston in what could be its biggest storm evah.  Get outta heah,I say!!! This week is the 35th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978.  I was there and it was pretty damned amazing. Most people don’t talk about it but just a week or two before there was a massive snowstorm in Boston. This left all kinds of snow that had been plowed aside clogging parking spaces and widewalks. When the blizzard hit, there was no place to put the snow.  Oops.  I lived on the corner of a side street, Chiswick Road, and a major road, Chestnut Hill Avenue, that was a snow emergency route. A humongous front end loader came down Chestnut Hill. It was scooping up snow and dumping it into dump trucks.  Across from my window a car was double parked and covered with a fiit or two of snow. The front end loaded got its scoop underneath the car and with a prehistoric grunt lifted it up and dropped in on the car at the curb.  My roommates and I couldn’t believe our eyes.

A month or so later when the snow finally started to melt. I was walking in the street on Chiswick because the sidewalks were glaciers. Every car that had parked on the street had huge indents in the side from where the snow plows had smashed snow into them. Body shops must have been working overtime for weeks.

The first storm was not so bad. My girlfriend and I worked at a company in Allston. She used to commute from the South Shore by bus, light rail and trolley. It normally took her two hours.  At 9 a:30 a.m. I called her home to see if she had turned around. No dice. At about 10 a.m. my co-workers and I were told to leave work. So we stalled by helping our car-driving co-workers get their cars out of the snow. Then, reluctantly, we headed out. We walked down the hill toward the trolley line. A trolley car stopped, then pulled away. We could see something moving toward us. There was my girlfriend who had spent five or six hours on the road. We were snowed in together for several days. Good times.

She wised up for the blizzard and stayed home leaving me alone and bored senseless. Bummer. Her father, though, went to the Beanpot hockey tournament at Boston Garden. It was impossible for him to get home so he took a room at the Sheraton Hotel near the Prudential Center. The power went out so he, a man with heart problems, had to climb the stairs something like ten flights to get to his room. After several days of being in the same clothes, he made his way to his office building a few blocks away. He, a dignified executive, broke into the valet shop and made off with some fresh underwear. (He left a note and probably paid for the damage.) Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So as I watch the coverage on the news tonight, I am taken back to my days in Boston. I don’t miss the winters one bit.

And this whole nostalgia thing got me to thinking. 20 years ago this month I saw an add for a sale on a “commuting bike” at the Spokes Etc. store on Quaker Lane in Alexandria. I needed a bike that was more robust than my Trek 1200 which was not designed to carry a load. The bike was a Specialized Sequoia, priced at something like $600. It had fenders, a rack, and generator light system and 24 gears!  Today, I call that bike The Mule. It’s odometer reads 32,400 miles. If I put studded tires on it, it might even get me through a blizzard.

Okay, that’s crazy talk. Good bike though.


3 thoughts on “It Was 20 Years Ago Today

    1. Do you remmeber the little convenience store on the corner? I lived in the building next to it on the second or third (don’t remmeber floor). I went in the store during the storm and all it had left in it was a disposable black pepper shaker and some gelatin packets.

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