Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 26, 2008

de la BASTIDE: Vivid memories from the blizzard

Anyone who was alive in Indiana in 1978 has a story of coping with the blizzard that struck Jan. 25 and lasted three days.

Having grown up on Long Island, I remember cold temperatures and snow. But there was nothing like the storm that hit Indiana that day.

Below zero temperatures, gusting winds that dropped wind chill factors into the levels more associated with International Falls or the Arctic Circle, and snow ... lots of snow.

At the time, I worked for the Anderson Daily Bulletin and lived in Muncie near the Ball State University campus.

What I remember about the first day of the snow was the fact that there were not many people in the newsroom to publish the afternoon newspaper and even fewer who arrived to publish the morning Anderson Herald.

People were cleaning out the grocery stores of everything that was edible and preparing for the long haul. No one at the newspaper thought that far in advance.

Living in Muncie, I decided to find a place to hibernate in Anderson, but instead a small group of staffers for both newspapers remained at the offices then shared by the two newspapers.

That small group of staff worked on putting out the two newspapers. It was a team effort. We took turns sleeping on the couches in the women’s restrooms or on the floor. For food, there was a raid on the vending machines. A diet of candy bars and cheese crackers was all that was available. One good thing was there was plenty of coffee available. Eventually someone took pity on us and brought food to the newsroom.

Like in most Indiana communities, there was not an abundance of businesses opened and if they were, there was no way to get there. County and city officials naturally declared a state of emergency and closed the roads to everyone except emergency vehicles.

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