What were you doing during the blizzard? What do you remember about it now? Do
you tell your children about your experiences, such as "When I was your
age, I had to walk miles to school in 28 inches of snow during a raging
blizzard ..." and so forth. Or, do you not remember it at all? Tell us
your story (feel free to embellish it somewhat; we all do that
anyway!) Since all of us remember a unique version of events,
let's hear your story. P.S. --- I'll post my own story later, in
I remember that storm very well. My Dad was stuck at his north side office for three days. I made a lot of money shoveling snow, going to the Jewel at 95th and Jeffrey for milk, groceries and cigs for the neighbors, etc.
One funny thing I remember is when they sent us home from Bowen. I was passing the Principal's office when one of our classmates came out and told me we were being released. I said "F you", your nuts. Of course that is exactly when one of the Assistant Principals came out of the office. I thought I would get at least a detention for that one, but got lucky and escaped.
Embellish? Embellish what...I REALLY did make it to school in a GAZILLION FEET OF SNOW....BAREFOOT....
oops, who said that?
OK, really, made it to school that morning, found out school was closed, made it home on the last (or one of the last) buses....but aside from an unnecessary trip in a blizzard, I remember the quiet. It really was very beautiful, and so wonderfully quiet. The snow had drifted up and totally covered our front stairs and porch. After we managed a little path down the stairs and could get out of the house, walking in the streets with zero traffic, and silence. I remember walking to 95th (we lived at 100th) to see if we could get groceries. I don't remember who I was with, but we had a transistor radio with us and we were singing with the songs and having a really great time! We passed one of the cul-du-sacs, and everybody who lived there was out shoveling snow, working together to get their block cleaned out and all the cars out. After the initial problems, it was fun. Had a similar experience in the late 70s---the new year blizzard---all the neighbors worked together, we pooled food and shoveled out each others cars. Brings out the best in people.
I remember two things which I have repeated to my kids. One, I remember that I worked in downtown Chicago and came home that night on the IC. It dumped us out at 71st and Jeffery, and I stood there for about an hour waiting for a bus which would probably never show. My next door neighbor, who was like a second father, drove by and literally threw open the passenger door to the car at about 6 or 8 miles an hour and yelled at me to jump in. He did this so the entire crowd of people would not jump into the car!!! Not that they would have fit!!
The second memory I have is of challenging a snow plow created "hill" on 95th street in a parking lot with my blue VW Bug. That car could do anything. Right up until the time I reached the top and was without any tires touching the snow. Made an interesting monument!! Took four of us to climb up and push it forward to where it slid down and could be driven away. Today, that would probably be a $50,000 work of art mounted up there!!!
Jean Samuels and I had been working at John M. Smythe that day. We came home on the I.C., got off at 71st and Jeffery, and had several full buses pass us by. So we hiked North a block or two to wait. We went into the 3-story brownstone vestibule because it was really getting windy, too. Then, when we saw the bus's head-lights, we went for the door. NOT. Snow had blown up against it and we were quite frightened that we would not be able to push open the door. We made it onto the bus. But the bus could not get past the snow drifts when we got to 93rd/94th, just before the viaduct. So everyone got off and we walked the rest of the way. I'll never forget that!
Also, I really enjoyed the next day because it was so QUIET. Living on Jeffery meant hearing a bus roar by every 20 minutes. But nothing was moving except for a red wagon or two as some brave souls tried to get to the Jewel to get a few groceries. It was lovely--from the safety of your own home.
~~~Lorraine Henning Kiewiet
If I remember right, the snow started on a Thursday which was a "records" day or a day of no school. A group of about six of us were playing poker all day, listening to the radio and watching the snow come down and keep on coming. The next morning the schools were closed so we stayed home and played more poker.
On Saturday (I may have the days confused) I went to work with my father, where he put me to loading a truck bound for Florida. How I wished I could ride that truck south. We were able to take the CTA to 62nd and Wentworth but that evening, on the way home, we ran into trouble. We took the el to 63rd and Stony Island and walked down to the street where about 500 people were waiting for a bus in the cold. We waited for about half an hour. There was only a single track cleared through the snow in the street in each direction. There was very little traffic and what there was of it was moving slowly.
Finally a single bus began approaching the intersection. A horde of people converged on it. It was already full so hardly anyone was able to get on. My father and I decided to try and walk home (to 89th Street). Suddenly, turning the corner from 63rd Street onto southbound Stony was the truck I had loaded! He was bound for Florida! My father ran out into the middle of the street, in front of the waiting crowd, and waved to the driver who stopped for us. We scrambled aboard and got a warm ride to 89th Street. The whole time the driver talked of getting the "hell out of Chicago" and he wasn't going to come back till spring. I wished I could go with him.
A couple of days later we tried to shovel out our cars. We found them by the antennae sticking up out of the snow. Michael Levy and I spent hours shoveling out our parents cars. We were crushed when a few hours later a city truck plowed them under. After that I gave up on shoveling and working and mostly stayed in playing cards with our friends.
When do we get your story, Randy?
I remember that the el was up and running
as soon as the tracks got cleared (within 24 hours?, while
surface transport was stopped for days. As the el approached 22
st.(cermac rd.?), I looked east. I saw many vehicles stopped and
half buried in a random pattern all across the road, and farther east
loomed McCormick, its roof collapsed after a recent
fire had severely damaged the structure. The image is still with
me after all these years. I also remember lying down in the
middle of jeffrey blvd., staring at the overcast sky, and feeling that
road was mine for those few minutes.
I remember how blue the sky was and how big and white the snowdrifts looked in comparison. (this was obviously the day after the blizzard.) I don't remember it being cold out though i'm sure it was. I do remember my sister susie and i playing in the parking lot of the a & p market on 95th street. The snowdrifts there were huge. We tried climbing to the top of the drifts. but you could feel how soft the snow was underneath and it made me think about avalanches. and how if we sank , that would be the end of us . i think that was one of the first times i ever thought about my own mortality or realized how suddenly things can change from being fun to being dangerous.
Susie probably remembers how my dad and my sister ruth didn't get home for several days because they were stuck on the far south side of chicago. so i'll leave that story for her to tell.
Jacki - weren't you at the Brown's at an Invite meeting on the Thursday with the rest of us? We really had only a vague idea of what was going on outside as we spent most of the day in their basement. I can remember being so bummed that the blizzard occurred on Record's Day - it would have been great if we had been sent home from school, or - better yet - if it had been a MONDAY, and we could have had the REST OF THE WEEK OFF!!
Living in Minnesota now, and working at the County, we have a No Snowday Policy in effect. If you choose to stay home, you take a vacation day. Believe me, I have - my job is not worth risking my life. On the other hand, they do plow the side streets, and most of the time, they're cleared by the time I need to leave for work. Better yet, since I'm retiring next February, I definitely have the short-timer attitude and am looking forward to next winter!
~~~Paula Harris Meier
I remember that about 2-3 days before the storm, it was in the 60's, and we drove around in a convertible with the top down. I also remember waiting for the bus on 87th street with Charlie Winship and a third person, and we ended up hitch hiking to school, just in time to find out that school was canceled! I remember having all day tackle football games at Caldwell School and then drying off in Ron Spitz's basement across the street from the school. I also remember the run on the food stores for bread and milk, and pulling a sled to the A & P on 87th to carry the groceries.
I can remember the stalled busses on Jeffery. The Dechters, Scott, Brad and I walked up to the JCC and climbed the wall. I fell in the pool since we could not see it under the snow. There were a few others with us too, maybe Mark Messina and George Sporny. Maybe you too Doug. Kind of hazy thinking about that much cold. Also remember making $42 shoveling all the stuff up and down Bennett.
When my Dad saw the snow coming down on Thursday, he and my Grandfather closed their business, Lake Front Wrecking at 119th & Doty, and took a panel truck with big tires. He took Grandpa home - up to 76th & Crandon - and headed back to us (101st & Paxton). He got stuck about half a block from home. The next day he was able to get the truck going and drove us and our neighbors to the grocery store on 100th st.
The snow fell on Thursday. School was canceled on Friday. But Saturday and Sunday was the play Our Town at the JCC on 93rd & Jeffery. We knew "the show must go on" but cars were still buried in the snow and many streets were still impassable. Would anyone come to the play? 100th St was clear by Saturday and I was able to take the Jeffery bus there. All the cast made it. Many people in the nearby neighborhood couldn't get as far as the movie theaters, so "Our Town" was the only available weekend entertainment. We had a full house!
Coming home from the play at night, I took some time in the quiet to look at the snow illuminated by the full moon. Beautiful! I also remember walking to school the following week thru the narrow canyons sidewalk shovelers carved through the snow, with the drifts on the sides up to my hips.
~~~Marcia Mayeroff Sacks
I was in the cast of "Our Town," a play put on by the JCC. Unfortunately, our performances took place during the blizzard. Since no one could drive to the 'J, those who attended had to walk. Needless to say, attendance was lower than expected. I played the part of the milkman, Howie Newsome. In one scene, I was supposed to come in from the outside. So to make my scene as authentic as possible, I came in totally covered with snow. I would do (and still do) anything for a laugh.
My mom had to call our neighbors from across the street (98th and Chappel) to come shovel us out, as the snow had drifted to the 2nd story of all the houses on our side of the street. The best part is that we got a day off from school on my birthday! I built a snowfort in the front yard with my next door neighbor (and your classmate), Marilyn Silver (does anyone know where she is? I've wondered for ages... Lorraine, have you kept in touch with her???).
All the dads in the neighborhood went out to shovel 98th St. & Place. One of the men used to make the traditional Scandanavian holiday drink called "Gluug", and he served it to all the shovelling crew --- many of whom passed out in the snow and had to be dragged home by our moms before they froze! It was a truly funny sight!!!
I remember that the day before or so it was really warm and
a bunch of us had been hanging out around 89th and Luella. The
storm dumped so much snow that the plows were only able to get half way
into the block where they just left it in a huge mound. Since we
lived at 8830 we had to dig a parking place out ourselves so that my
Dad's car could at least park near our house and then had to redig a
path to the end of the block, around the pile. He still made it to most
of his deliveries in the days that followed. My mother actually
made it home from 3600 S. Halsted during the height of the storm, while
stalled cars were already piling up and blocking the Dan Ryan.
I also remember that the next day 87th street was mostly closed and that several of us had walked down its center to get to a grocery store around 87th and Kimbark. I think it was at that location that a small group of "gang members" recognized one of our group from a past encounter and who was separated from us at the time, one of them flashed a knife and threatened to beat him up when he got outside. Not knowing that we actually outnumbered them, the three of us got together and escorted him out of the store, back to his home and safety. It was the only time during the whole storm experience that people were not out to help each other, but rather trying to take advantage of the situation.
I was only 12 years old when the blizzard hit, but
I remember it so well. We lived on 83rd Street between Kingston
and Colfax. My mother owned Annette's Cleaners and Dressmaking
and I remember standing in the big store windows just watching all the
people walking down the middle of the street pulling snow sleds with
groceries on them from the High-Low store down around Commercial
Avenue. (Quite a walk just from our place). While
walking you were dodging all kinds of vehicles stranded in the
snow. A street that was always busy with traffic was silent,
nothing could pass. That was the first time anyone in the city
saw a snowmobile on the roads of the city. It was so peaceful.
Anyone out there remember Annette's Cleaners with Annette and Fran?
~~~Adriane Grzywinski Parce
I will always remember the Blizzard of '67.
We had a "suggested" assignment for Mrs. Rupert's French class to
see Moliere's "The Imaginery Invalid." I was with Fred Gellman,
and it was playing at the Studebaker Theater. When we
came out of the theater, the amount of snow was already huge. The IC station looked totally wild, so we decided on the Jeffery Express bus. The bus only made it to 28th and South Park (now King Drive). We spent the night at Dunbar High. The next morning, we crept across the snow drifts to stay ay my cousin's apartment at Prairie Shores. She worked for the Sun Times, and I remember going out with my cousin and her friend who was a photographer for the paper. We took photos of cars buried in the snow and all you could see was the very top of the radio antennae.
~~~David Citron, III
The day of the blizzard Diane Trachtman and I went downtown--the snow began while we were there and we took the train (or maybe a bus) to Bowen where Mr. "C" gave us a ride home--he couldn't get down the hill at 91st and Merrill so I waded down in snow up to my thighs. It was "Marking Day" and that's why Mr. C was there that day.It was a really fun time and great to miss so many days of school. For months afterward we walked on the streets instead of sidewalks.
~~~Linda Stapay Covey
My dad got stranded trying to drive home from downtown that evening and ended up spending the night in a high school in a very scary part of the South Side. He hitched a ride with a wonderful Chicago police officer who was able to drop him off at the corner of 95th and Jeffrey (where Hillmans was) and my brother and I took our sled and walked from our house at 9678 S. Crandon in the Manor all the way over to Jeffrey and 95th to pick him up and bring him home. He was frozen like a ice age man, and spent hours in a hot tub defrosting when he got home. That poor guy. I remember a previous winter some years prior when all the streets froze and I was able to ice skate in the streets all through the entire Manor with NO dry spots. Indeed the Jeffrey Manor was a very special place to grow up. Safe, secure and assured.
Other Blizzard of '67 links:
Photograph of Calumet Expressway January 26-27, 1967
South Lake Shore Drive photo from Chicago Sun-Times
Sixties Music Extracurricular Activities Jobs Restaurants In Memoriam