Cos (cos) wrote,


My first 7 winters, spent in Uganda and Israel, I saw no snow. We moved to Boston (well, Brookline) the summer before my 8th winter - a winter that was determined to make up the difference, and show me 8 years of snow in one.

By February, we'd already had a few major snowstorms and some smaller snowfalls. One morning before going to school, we heard on the radio that the previously predicted 1-2 inches for that day had been increased to 2-4 inches. I remember watching the snow fall heavily through the large school cafeteria or gym windows that morning.

By late in the morning, it became clear that 2-4 inches was an underestimate, that in fact we might already have gotten 2-4 inches in the first couple of hours, and they closed school and sent everyone home. At the same time schools and offices were closing all over the region, and a lot of parents had trouble getting to school to pick up their kids, but my brother and I lived in the apartment building directly adjacent to the school playground, across from the school, so we just walked home without waiting for parents. Wind tried to prevent it, and I remember being blown off my feet a few times, but apparently I did succeed in crossing the playground. School didn't reopen for two weeks.*

What we were getting was a cross between a hurricane and a blizzard. It wasn't just the unusually rapid snowfall, lasting two whole days, it was also the 80-110mph winds that piled up gigantic snowdrifts** and caused all sorts of havoc. On the south shore and down on the cape, houses fell into the ocean. On Route 128 (aka I-95, though I think it wasn't I-95 yet then), thousands of cars were trapped and some people even died in their cars, buried in snow and exhaust fumes.

I didn't experience most of this directly - though my parents were in a car on Route 128, they got out. . Here's one thing I did experience:

The week after the storm, on a bright sunny day, some friends and I were in my building's parking lot, which had temporarily become a snowy playground for us. We were making snowmen and other snowconstructions, and digging in the snow... we struck gold! Well, we found something shiny and metallic and gold colored, and it was exciting. So we kept digging to try to discover what it was. We made the hole, already probably about a foot deep, deeper and wider, until we found our metallic gold surface sloping downwards at an angle... dark... clear... a windshield. We'd found not gold, but the roof of a gold-colored car.

When people talk about snowpocalypses and snowmageddons, this is what I think of.

* Our school year ended up having fewer than the required number of school days that year, because they didn't yet have a policy of extending it into the summer if there were too many snow days. That policy was enacted the following year, in response to the blizzard.

** I remember hearing about 12 foot snow drifts. In my neighborhood snow was piled up significantly higher than I was tall, but how deep that was, I wouldn't know. Could've been merely 8 feet, not 12.

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