Voices Through the Blizzard 1978 (wspd)

I remember having to leave our home in the country to get into town. We left on snowmobiles. It rained the night before and we woke up to 50-60 mph winds and single digit temperatures. I knew school was cancelled!

Here is a 48 minute recording I captured later in 78 on the tape player and radio I got for Christmas just a month earlier. The radio station WSPD did a rebroadcast of the highlights of those days.

Here is more info that a Facebook friend posted the other day.

Remembering the Great Blizzard of 1978, when Michigan took a deadly hit – mlive.com

  • Even though it’s been 41 years, the monster Blizzard of 1978 is still a vivid winter memory for many Michiganders.
  • “The most extensive and very nearly the most severe blizzard in Michigan history raged throughout Thursday January 26, 1978 and into  part of Friday January 27. About 20 people died as a direct or indirect  result of the storm, most due to heart attacks or traffic accidents. At  least one person died of exposure in a stranded automobile. Many were  hospitalized for exposure, mostly from homes that lost power and heat.  About 100,000 cars were abandoned on Michigan highways, most of them in  the southeast part of the state.”To mark this anniversary, we pulled together photos from across the state and both peninsulas to show how Michiganders weathered the storm.

2 thoughts on “Voices Through the Blizzard 1978 (wspd)”

  1. I was 19. Full of ambition, light on perspective. Had just driven back from AZ with my girlfriend and her 2 year old baby a few days before, traveling in sync with the very large storm that preceded this blizzard. We were staying at her parents home in the country outside of Bowling Green. I decided we should drive 25 miles north to Perrysburg and shack up at my girlfriend’s sister’s place. Don’t remember exactly why, but it probably partially had something to do with having fun and smoking pot, which we couldn’t do at her parents home, lol. We were the only car on the road, which you couldn’t really see, knee high snow, got stuck several times. But we eventually made it. Once there we decided we might freeze to death and packed up and trudged across town with supplies (mostly pot and alcohol, lol) to one of their friend’s basement apartment where they had a small kerosene heater in a room all closed off to better hold the heat. I remember while trekking across town how dark Perrysburg was, intermittently the gusts of wind would die briefly and you could make out the dead traffic lights blowing completely sideways in the wind. A few of us guys went out several times to check on other people and help with various heat, water and food issues. Unforgettable times. Very good memories. Struggle is a gift from our creator.

  2. I would be turning 11 in a few weeks and what i remember was waiting by the radio to hear that our school district was closed. Seemed like a long list of schools to wait on; and it was because all of them were closed. And they were closed for many days. I can only reflect now on the huge difference in the feelings of joy i had compared to how it must have been for my mom and dad. I’m sure it was not pleasant for them. No work, no power, no heat, stuck where we were until we could get a ride into town on snowmobiles. Worry probably isn’t even the right word to describe their state of mind. I felt none of those worries. I feel guilty now thinking back; I feel so selfish because I had no idea or care how scary this must have been for so many. But i guess that only means my parents did their job keeping that worry from us kids. Lots of snow, lots of fun in the snow and away from school. That was my world. My parents made the best of what must have been a nightmare for them and many others. I never knew this at the time. In a weird way, those were fond memories for an 11 year old, but thinking back on the reality of what it was, creates the mixed feelings I now have. Sort of an overly delayed feeling of chaos and fear that never really existed for me, but probably should have. Maybe that’s one example of how ignorance can be bliss. I sort of relive some of that excitement through my own kids now when they get word that school has been canceled. Maybe that is how my dad viewed it back then when he saw the joy in our faces when the magical words “Otsego Schools are closed” made their way through the airwaves and into our little naive heads. But i doubt it because that would be our last winter as kids in the state of Ohio.

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