Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 3, 2013

Readers remember ‘78 blizzard

Photos and stories shared on 35th anniversary.

By Rob Burgess
Tribune night editor

— On Jan. 27, we posted the following status update on our Facebook page: “The blizzard of 1978 was 35 years ago today. Who remembers that?”

Now, a week later, that one post has since received 1,140 likes, 262 comments and 52 shares. It’s clear that many of our readers did, in fact, recall the once-in-a-generation weather event quite well.

Many of you indicated you had photos to share of the 3 feet of accumulation and the accompanying 8 foot snow drifts which covered houses, cars and everything else in sight.

Along with a selection of the photos we received, here’s a few of the stories our readers shared with us on our Facebook page:

Chris Hall

“I lived in Pine Valley Apartments over behind The Cone Palace. Our front door wouldn’t open because of the 8 to 10 foot snow drift. We had to exit through back patio. We walked up to US-31 on Center Road to get food.”

Sheri Burton DeWitt

“The National Guard brought us water in barrels. We lived across street from Lincoln School then. I was 12. It was fun [the] first few days of no school, then reality sunk in that we could do nothing … so [I] was very glad to go back to school!”

Archie Hunt

“I lived in Kokomo but worked in Peru. A group of us carpooled to work. On a normal day it was a 20 to 30 minute drive. We left work early that day and it still took us two hours to get from just north of IN-24 to Kokomo. Visibility [was] close to zero, [it was] only one lane and very slow speed. We lost track of the number of cars that went off the road. Yes, I remember well.”

Tracey Rodkey

“I remember people had to dig through drifts as high as houses to get to folks front doors. Can’t remember how long we were without power. My dad walked a couple miles home from work. No way to travel except by ATV. It took him a few hours just to walk a couple miles.”

Amy Sharpe Kuehn

“The blizzard of ‘78 was fun for me since I was only 7. I grew up in Columbus. School was obviously canceled, but nearly all businesses were also closed too. My dad was a psychologist and he didn’t have to go to work, which was really odd. I remember him spending a really long time shoveling snow on the driveway which wasn’t a very big driveway. The resulting ‘mountain’ of snow next to it was much taller than my 4 year-old sister or myself. We were able to tunnel into it because it packed very well and make it like a cave. My mom made hot chocolate for us. We took our hot chocolate, a few dolls, and some books into our cave and spent a while in there each day. That was the most awesome snow experience I’ve ever had.”

Nancy Richey Bogan

“It was beyond anyone’s imagination. Thank God my mother-in-law stopped to check on my kids on her way home or they would have been home alone. We couldn’t get there. In the light of day the next day we could see our house from where we got stuck. It was hell.”

Danielle Gates Rush

“My family lived way out in the country in Boone County. We had a snow drift over our front door. When my dad started shoveling us out, he had to go out the window onto the garage roof. He shoveled a path to the door, opened the screen door, and found our cat huddled between the front door and the screen door. We had looked and looked for him before the storm started and couldn’t find him. Dad had assured us kids that kitty would find a safe place and would be OK. Anyway, Dad brought the cat inside, and Mom wrapped kitty in warm towels out of the dryer, and used a medicine dropper to dribble warm milk into his mouth. That cat survived and lived many more years. Dad said he used eight of his nine lives during that storm.”

Anna Marie Dickerson Disinger

“I remember it. I was 3 years old. We were getting in our car to leave and I found a $100 in the snow bank that had just been plowed. I gave it to my mom. Years later after I married we were all sitting around talking about this story and my mom said, ‘you have no idea how bad we needed that money at that time.’”

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robaburg.