Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snow-Day Memories and a Snow Thrower Giveaway!

The stricken metropolis lay gasping, barely able to move. The storm swatted it, slugged it, smashed it, crushed it in 75 million tons of snow. But in the end the metropolis did not break. Like a dazed giant, it shuddered under the monstrous weight and began stumbling to its knees . . . then regained its feet . . .

Tens of thousands of Chicagoans fought the storm, from the first. They met the superstorm and the storm could not break the city. So, remember: It snows in Chicago. It gets cold in Chicago. And we do not break. ~
M. W. Newman, from the now-defunct Chicago Daily News.

And so it was on Thursday and Friday, January 26th and 27th, 1967. For a nine-year-old girl, those were exciting, wonderful, memorable days. Beautiful muted light came through snow-covered windows as a hearty, homemade stew bubbled in the kitchen. Outside, impromptu snowball fights broke out. Snowmen, snow forts, and snow angels were created. In homes throughout the city, little jackets, mittens, and scarves were draped over radiators to dry while rosy-cheeked girls and boys sat at kitchen tables sipping sweet, steamy Ovaltine.

Mom remembers our street didn't get plowed for a long time. (I know, hard to believe this could actually happen in Chicago. ;) She recounts, "Residents with snow shovels (who had snow blowers in those days?) got together and shoveled out streets and alleyways. In our neighborhood, the only way into your garage was through the alley. Garbage trucks went down alleys to pick up garbage. There was no garbage pickup until you got your alley shoveled out yourselves, so garbage was piling up and adding to the blockage. I remember Dad and a couple of others shoveling out that whole alley. Out on the street, cars were buried over their tops in snow. When you tried to shovel out, there was no place to put the snow. There were lots of unhappy people who, when they finally shoveled their cars out, came home to find that the snow from someone else's car had been dumped in their spot. It took many, many days to clear out."

We don't remember for sure how long school was closed. It was a long time though, maybe even as long as two weeks. Normal life in the city was disrupted for a long time. Even putting food on the table was challenging for many families in the aftermath of the storm. Mom says, "Stores ran out of groceries because delivery trucks couldn't get through. I don't remember how long it was before we could get to the store, but it was quite a while. I think the cupboard was getting a little sparse. We ran out of milk and some other staples. We didn't know how long the supply of toilet paper would last - I think we finally had to use kleenex for a couple of days."

I remember running out of milk too. I remember them talking about the milk shortage on the 6:00 news. It was a big problem. We needed it for our Ovaltine!

That's my snow-day memory - what's yours? Share a favorite snow-day memory in the comments section of this post for a chance to win your choice of one of the following snow throwers compliments of Troy-Bilt:

The compact Flurry 1400 is ideal for milder winters, smaller driveways and lighter snowfalls. Designed with features that make it easy to operate, including a dependable push button electric start.
Other specs:
· 11 amp electric Troy-Bilt engine
· Push-button electric start
· E-Z Chute™ manual pitch chute control
· Auger-assist drive system

The Storm 3090 XP 2-stage snow thrower features a wide 30" clearing width, Touch 'n Turn power steering and heated hand grips, plus an in-dash headlight and reflective strips for greater visibility in low light.
Other specs:
· Touch ‘n Turn power steering
· Push-button electric start

· Just One Hand operation – steer with one hand, freeing the other hand to adjust the chute direction without stopping
· 30” clearing width
· In-dash headlight and reflective strips for safer operation
· Standard heated hand grips


Contest Details: Snow thrower giveaway is sponsored by Troy-Bilt, and is open to US residents only. Winner will pick between the 3090XP and the Flurry, depending on where they live and snowfall. (Troy-Bilt can provide assistance to winner in making their selection if unsure.) Contest ends at midnight, CST December 3, 2010, and winner will be selected using Random.org.

FTC Disclosure: As host of this giveaway, I will be receiving a complimentary snow thrower, and will review it in a later post.


12/4/10 Update: As I write this, we are in the middle of our first snow storm of the season, with about 2 1/2-3 inches on the ground already this morning. Our new snow thrower has arrived and been uncrated, ready to go to work later today.

Entries for the drawing closed last night, and this morning, using Random.org, a winner has been chosen. (Drumroll, please!)

Congratulations Ramble On Rose!!! You are our winner, and you'll get to pick which snowblower is best for your family's needs. I'm very excited for you!


  1. I remember the very same storm. The school bus brought me home early and I waded through the snow to my house. Mom was surprised to see me. After the snow stopped, my brothers and I built an elaborate series of tunnels and snow slides.

  2. You know I remember that same storm. Well, maybe not remember when it happened (I would have been 6), but remember pictures of the huge snow mounds along the road after the plows went through....and my brother and I sledding down it

  3. My favorite snow day was going snowshoeing for the first time at Morton Arb last winter. I can't wait to go back again!

  4. I too grew up with snowy winters - not as bad as the one you describe but bad enough to stop us getting to school. But even when we could get there, it was fun. We used to make long ice-slides in the playground. Children aren't allowed to do this now in case they fall over!

    Now I live in a no-snow area and winters never feel complete.

    I didn't know what a snow blower was until I read this post. When I saw the title I thought it would be a fun thing . . . sort of like an automatic snowball maker and thrower. (Wouldn't that be fun too!)

    However, now I know what it is, it sounds very useful - except . . . don't you still have the same problem? Where do you blow the snow to? (The neighbours garden / driver . . . . ? !)

    Have fun with yours when it arrives - for it does sound fun as well as useful.


  5. My favorite was in 1978, I was a junior in high school, and we missed two whole weeks of school! There was a drift that completely blocked our garage door, you could only see out of half of the bay window. I made a network of caves and tunnels in the yard (just a big kid still :), and ski club was phenominal the rest of the season. Best part: we didn't have to make the days up at the end of the school year! I sure hope I win the snowblower, our Wisconsin winters would keep it humming!

  6. I notice a pattern - childhood memories of great storms. My memories of a great storm were as an adult - when I couldn't get out to work, but the larder was full. Fortunately.

  7. My most memorable snow day was my dad driving us to our new home. It was December and snowing heavily. He had to get out of the car every few blocks to clean off the windows, wipers and heater were just not doing the job.


  8. If this winter is like the last, I could surely use one of those snow blowers! Last year I was supposed to substitute one day, and got stuck in my driveway and had to call in and cancel.

    I have lots of snow day memories, including the snowstorm of 1967. I remember the piles of snow left after the snowplows finally got through; they were at least 12 feet tall! Living on a farm, we were totally isolated for about a week. I was a teenager (so, yes, I am older than you)and was going stir crazy by the end of the week. One night toward the end of the week, though, a brave soul found his way to our house--my boyfriend, now my husband. I was so glad to see him, and maybe that's when I realized he would go through anything just to be with me:)

  9. We haven't had many big storms that I can think of, but my favorite snow memories took place while I was in the hospital giving birth to our two oldest children. Emily was born on January 6th, and for the three days we were in the hospital, it snowed, and my husband had to go home and make sure the sidewalks were shoveled (our city tickets if your sidewalk isn't shoveled within 24 hours). Then, exactly one year later, on January 4th, Sarah was being born, and the weather did the exact same thing. Frustrating then, but we look back and laugh now about my husband going back and forth from home to hospital to shovel the stupid snow! :-)

  10. We don't have snow but rain (flooding). The worst rain I have ever experienced is when the water overflowed into the house knee high. Oh I was then about six years old. But still, the whole house was filled with mud after that. I am glad that today, even when it rains a lot, the water has never came into the house.

    Btw, Habib Koite' and Bamada music is so cool. Now I know someting about your daughter. Thanks for sharing GG :-D

  11. I grew up hearing about that famous storm, and the winter of '78-79. My mom recalls that in '67 North Ave was completely empty and she took her dog for a walk in the middle of the road. But I don't know if that counts for my memory. My favorite snow day tradition was sledding down the hill of piled snow at the end of our driveway, which got left there by the plows clearing the road. In hindsight, how could we have been so foolish to sled down the hill INTO the street?!

  12. I love to sit in my living room and watch the snow fall by the window, while I drink a cup of coffee.

  13. My family moved from Oklahoma to Minnesota in 1986. The winters were mild, but still brutal for us Okies, until 1991. The Twins were on to their second World Series win, and I felt like I belonged, especially with ticker tape parades in school hallways. That Halloween began with a dusting of snow, and when we woke up the next day it was approaching 30". Heaven? Delusional disbelief? Yes! Surviving--and enjoying--that snowfall made me a Minnesotan, and my often-ridiculed southern accent seemed to finally melt away inside the cold snow fort we built, which was the size of a small house. Minnesotans, no matter where they end up (like Nebraska), embrace and thrive in the snow--so bring it, Troybilt. Bring me home. Let's play.

  14. Hi Linda, 1) My stoopid school district never gave us snow days. Nunca! 2) I like shoveling snow. Shoveling. 3) I just wanted to say hi, even if I have no use for a snowblower. :)

  15. LIke Monica I have no use for a snow thrower~But, wanted to say hey! gail

  16. The biggest snow I remember was when I was in 6th grade, upstate NY. There was a lot of snow and then the wind got into it! No school for a week! Many roads were drifted so bad you wouldn't even know there was a road. Hay was dropped, by airplane, to farmers. A trail was shoveled from our back door and the sides were so high you couldn't see anyone moving!Never have I seen anything close to that since.

  17. I am in Iowa, but my best memory for a HUGE snowfall was in MN in 1986. We had moved there in '85 to find jobs and lived out in Belle Plaine about 45 miles from Minneapolis.
    We lived in an old farmhouse with wood heat. We went through all the cured wood it was so cold and almost chocked to pieces when we had to chainsaw down a tree that was green just to keep warm.
    And then one Monday it started snowing,,,It snowed, snowed snowed. The driveway we started shoveling at 2am to get to work by 8am. We would finish shoveling and it would drift back before we got to the end.
    My husband is a car buff & we had 4 vehicles. We got into the Blazer, and backed out- got 3 miles down the road, and it was so cold the truck stopped dead. We walked back home, got the pickup- drove that past the Blazer, and 5 miles down it stopped dead right after we got on the highway.Cold again, and something under the dash was smoking- it was so cold we stayed with the car and later a kindly patrol officer drove us home, barely making it.
    My husband got into the another car- a Tempest he was working on, but it ran-and told me to stay home he was going to try and make it in. I guess he passed the Blazer, he passed the truck ,which was on fire-(literally) but her couldn't stop for fear the car would skid or stall.
    He almost got into Shakopee, and was behind a semi that jack-knifed and to avoid himself hitting a car head on , on that 2 lane stretch he went into the ditch on the right hand side (he was fine)
    The SAME patrol officer was at the scene of the accident, and maybe an hour later, David walks in the door- his hair frozen, and scowling. The patrol officer did ask him if that was 'his truck' that had by then burned down to a shell- hubby said 'not any more'.
    About a week later after the snow had been cleared a bit, we got into our last vehicle- a Dodge pickup hubby had bought from a farmer but never drove- it started up, we went into the cities to pick up our checks (we got fired for not making it into work) , packed everything we could and moved back to Iowa- on the way we left the title to the Blazer in the drivers seat (signed) with a note for whomever wanted it to just take it. The burnt up truck, we pulled the plates, left another note, and the Tempest, we made another trip back up and got it.
    I will never forget being so cold, or trying to walk home in snow almost waist high.
    I thought Iowa was cold, but nothing compared to 1986 in the middle of nowhere in MN when it was -40.
    This year... well a cold snowy winter is predicted. Thank goodness we have natural gas heat and people we know around!
    Guess which snowblower I would choose? ;)


  18. During one of the winter i had fallen twice during the snow fall.

  19. Like many of the previous posts, we northeast Ohioans experienced heavy snowfalls in during the '77 and '78 winters. Lots of school snow days which I loved (even though I liked school!).

    However, one of my favorite snow memories is not that of a particularly massive snowfall, but of my grandfather (affectionately named "Bop" by us kids) hand-shoveling 3-4 inches of new-fallen snow off of a pond near their home and testing the ice to make sure by brother and I wouldn't fall through as we whirled about (and yes, fell!) on our ice skates.

    What fun, what joy, and what c-o-l-d!

    But we didn't mind one bit because we knew that when our frolicking ended, Gram's hot chocolate and cookies awaited us back at their house along with Bop's roaring fire in the fireplace.

    However, in recalling this fond memory, I'm not sure that the ice skating, the hot chocolate/cookies and the inviting fire are the best parts of this memory. Instead, I think it may be Gram and Bop's ever-present love that us kids felt that turned that day and so many others like it into such precious life-long memories.

  20. My favorite snowfall when I was kid was a time when we had this huge drift in our backyard. It was so big that we dug a 15 foot tunnel through it with openings at both ends.

  21. My parents made it very clear that if we bought a snowblower, we were not going to be the only ones who benefitted from it. Consequently, I remember many a snowy morning being awakened at 6:00 in the morning to go clear the driveways and sidewalks of neighbors who were shut in or who had medical conditions. Maybe that's why I haven't bought a snowblower yet, because I know if I had one, I'd have a few cold and early mornings out helping the widower next door and the elderly single lady across the street. Whoever wins this, keep an eye out for a couple of uncleared walks this winter and pay it forward.

  22. My favorite snowfall story was when me and my brothers and sister were little- we would get so excited to have a snow day and no school! And we'd love sledding down small hills by our house and pulling each other in the sled. Somehow, we never seemed to get cold. I also enjoyed spending one snowy winter weekend with my family in Brown County- where we stayed in a cabin and my parents pulled us in sleds around the park.

  23. I love it when it snows in the winter and I think winter is the best time of the year. There is great hunting and we could always get out of highschool and ride four wheelers all day and go sledding. It's great to get together with family and celebrate Jesus' birthday too!
    bengoodman at gmail.com

  24. Sarah's comment above is from
    sespecht at gmail.com

  25. I enjoyed getting up early to watch and see if school would be canceled because of snow! If it was I would go back to bed, get up later, then spend hours in the snow playing games, throwing snow balls, and making forts. I really enjoyed coming indoors too for some nice warm hot chocolate!

  26. I loved snowball fights with my brother.

  27. Never have owned a snowblower...certainly could have used one for the Blizzard of '78 here in Indianapolis.

    Saw some pretty fierce snow storms when I lived in Colorado Spring too (as you can imagine). The precip would come rolling over the mountains and dump a lot of snow on their east side: Colorado Springs.


  28. The blizzard of '78. We were out of school for weeks and the snow drifted up to the roof of our second story roof. It was something.

  29. My favorite snow memory is from childhood. We had a blizzard which knocked out all power and my parents and all seven kids camped out in our living room where we had a wood burning fireplace. What an adventure for the kids and I'm sure a nightmare for our parents. To make the experience even better - no school for days, just hours and hours to play outside in the snow and skate on the creek that ran through our yard.

    raindrop71 at sbcglobal dotnet

  30. One winter it snowed a ton. Our kids were small, and they wanted to "go sledding". We strategically piled the snow to take advantage of the natural grade of the yard. Then we packed the snow along the path of the grade. We put the kids on a disk sled at the top of the hill, gave them a good push, and they glided all the way across the yard. They loved it! We called it Mt. Fulper!!


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