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Winter Storm of 1978

30 Dec

Winter Storm of 1978

Several pictures out of Michigan (and the Midwest) have surfaced recently to remind those of us who went through the Winter Storm of 1978 of how bad it actually was.

Just throwing one of those pictures out to my friends on Facebook produced many comments from people who were there and have specific memories of that week.

I was at college at Oakland University, half an hour north of Detroit in Rochester, Michigan. I lived in the dorms.

A few of my friends remember leaving to stay with families close by, perhaps their own. I remember staying in the dorms but nearly running out of food when delivery trucks couldn’t make it in that week. We were rationing by week’s end and eating lots of cereal.

My most specific memory is of getting cabin fever as the week drew to a close. I don’t believe we had had classes since Monday or so.

My friend Ron Rheaume and I decided to go for a walk Friday night to see how deep the snow really was.

Back then, the campus of Oakland U. was largely wooded in back. It was perhaps 25% developed. There are many more buildings there now.

Ron and I walked to the back part of the campus and somehow got turned around in the woods. The fact that we left for our walk about 10:00 on a Friday night might have had something to do with that. There was nothing to see out in the woods. Everything was the same.

As we walked, trying to find our way, we got colder and colder. Eventually we exited onto Squirrel Road, across from the pond that used to be there, right off campus (not sure whether it is still there). Since we now knew where we were, we were good to go (although we still had to walk about half an hour to get back to the dorms).

In that era before cellphones, our arrival at `1 AM after leaving for our walk at 10 PM created a bit of a stir. Thankfully no one had yet called the police to report us missing!!!

Several days later, the snow melted and life returned to normal.

Yet few of us who were there will ever forget the snow falling so high and so deep that it covered the entrances to buildings. Some people remember the snow covering the front doors of their homes!

And, yes, the pictures of roads tunneled through banks of snow are accurate, too.

We will never forget!

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