Years ago, this date was called Armistice Day and coincided with a huge blizzard that struck the Midwest.
It may not be a date that will live in Infamy as FDR proclaimed a little over a year later about December 7, 1941, but to those of us who were alive at the time, it still looms large on the memorable scale.
There were no hourly updates on impending disasters. No television and we had only one small radio.
My father awoke us that morning, saying “You won’t be going to school today. There’s a blizzard out there.” Of course my three brothers and I jumped right out of bed to look. We not only did not go to school that day but schools were closed for a whole week! Most of the pupils who attended our one-room school lived on farms that surrounded the small Minnesota town where I grew up. Roads were impassable.
We lived on the main street leading to the business section and there was no traffic at all that morning. The frost-covered storm windows made it impossible to see much outside except where we blew our hot breath on them to melt the frost and expose a small opening. But we did not have to actually see anything as we heard the howling wind.
With no advance warning of the storm, the grocer’s shelves were not ransacked ahead of the approaching storm. We had a huge garden each year and my mother always canned a lot of vegetables from that, home grown potatoes were stored in the basement. She also canned meat. The only item missing was milk as the milkman could not make deliveries either.
Once the storm subsided and we could step outside to see what it had wrought, a beautiful pristine sight greeted us: huge wind-driven sculpted snowdrifts, — no foot prints, auto traffic or plows marred the vast whiteness.
Wind chill? Never heard of it. Polar Vortex? Likewise.
Memory dims pertinent details of how we endured in the ensuing week, but survive we did and lived to tell about it, unlike the 59 people in Minnesota who perished because of the storm.
How blessed we were and thankful in not needing medical attention or enduring other emergencies during that perilous week.
Historians record what happened but people who lived it tell how it felt.