A Storm To Remember by prettybluebirds
Childhood Memories contest entry
Dad called it a Northeaster. The wind howled around our old farmhouse, and a few fine flakes of snow often sifted through the cracks around the window. In the morning, there would be a light dusting of snow on my covers. It had happened before in easterly storms. I pulled the covers over my head and left a small hole to breathe through. Then the banshee screaming of the wind lulled me to sleep.
There was no heat in the upstairs of our house, so I woke to a cold, dark room. I pulled the light string and got nothing. I wasn't surprised; we often lost electricity back in the fifties. I lit the candle kept by the bed and, as fast as I could, put on my undies and pulled my dress over my head. I grabbed my shoes and ran downstairs to put them on by the wood stove in the living room. As usual, Mom had breakfast ready for all of us. No mean feat with twelve mouths to feed every morning.
Dad and my brothers struggled to the barn to milk cows and feed the hogs. I put on my snowsuit and took food and warm water to my rabbits. Before starting the mile-long walk to school, we must have all the chores done.
It soon became apparent there would be no school that day. Huge snowdrifts loomed everywhere, and we couldn't even tell where the road was. Even if we could have walked to school, there was no way our teacher was going to drive ten miles to get there. Also, power was out everywhere. The electric lines that crossed our yard were on the ground, and Dad cautioned us to stay away from them. Tiny, our dog, was tied up so she wouldn't get curious and stick her nose on the tangled wires. Telephone lines were all down too, so no phone. Yes, no school that day. Hurrah!
My best friend, Sandy, and her brother, Roger, showed up at our house a couple of hours later. They lived about a quarter of a mile away. I often envied Sandy because they had modern conveniences, like a fuel-oil furnace and an electric cook stove, so she and her brother didn't have to carry wood upstairs every night. But when it came to power outages, we were much better off. Wood provided the heat, and Mom cooked with wood. Lanterns or candles gave us all the light we needed. Dad hooked a gasoline engine to the jack-pump, so the water was not a problem.
I never forgot that storm. It took two weeks, payloaders, and dump trucks to open our road. I don't remember how long we went without electricity, but it must have been quite a spell. I know Sandy and Roger spent a lot of time at our house that winter. Of course, we kids had a blast, no school for over two weeks and all that beautiful snow to build forts and play in. A storm to remember.
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