Remember the Blizzard of '78? If you were alive back then and lived in Central Indiana, how could you forget it? Believe it or not, it has been 25 years since what Bob Gregory described as a "100 year event."
Here are your stories.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a senior at Greencastle High School. Snow, snow, and more snow. It came in record blizzard proportions that winter and covered Greencastle with more than 3 feet of that white stuff. But it wasn t just the snow, it was the wind. Drifts closed many roads in the area. I remember finally getting out to attend a swim meet in Crawfordsville, and seeing the snow piled high above the busses as we traveled up 231. My boyfriend, then, was working for the State Highway Department. He was at my house the night the snow came. As a matter of fact, he was snowed in at my house for 4 days! Oh, he did call work and tell them he could not make it in. Funny part is, we were only 3 blocks from where a snowplow could have picked him up! Guess he just wanted to stay with me! As a matter of fact, he has stayed with me ever since. He even got a few brownie points after that blizzard had past, when he helped shovel my dad s car out of 3 feet of snow, so my dad could go to the grocery store. So, I guess the Blizzard of 78 wasn t such a bad time& & ..for me!
Joanna (Priest) Barker
Hello, My biggest and never will forget. I was just 8yrs old in the first grade.
My step sister who is just four months older then I . we experienced what it was like to spend the night at school. Some parents came and picked there kids up with snowmobiles. but we lived out in the country.we didn t even own a snowmobile.
was weird eating supper at school. and sleeping on classroom floors.
The next day busses took us home. But even then they had trouble. some had to walk a mile to get to there house. .. This was up north Fulton County ( Caston School)
I hadn't been on my job a year yet, but I remember the snow had drifted on the front porch and my Mother and I were not able to open the front door. I also remember drifted snow in the driveway, that was too high to drive thru. The news stated that everything was closed and to stay off the street. I was happy to be home from work.
I was 9 years old.The drifts covered our front door and the ice was thick over the back door. so we were trapped for 2 days until a neighbor dug us out. I rember being under blankets with the family dog. and eating campbells chicken and stars cold and with out adding water because our pipes were froze, the power was out and we used a candle after the flashlight quit. I have old photos of how the ice froze in drips in the first part of the storm before the snow.
My name is Lynn Abney I was to be married on
My dates on the napkins were all incorrect and our wedding bands were engraved with the date. My husband was at work and was
Trapped there for 1 ½ days. He finally made it to his sisters house where he stayed overnite. He was able to have our nephew drive
Him into downtown
3-4 miles to our apartment where I was snowed in. He was concerned I was there by myself and of course hysterical about all of my wedding plans being cancelled. We were able to get married and most of our family and friends were there on Tuedsay the 31st.
We were to travel to
I live 5.5 miles northeast of Edinburgh, on a farm. I was working at Indiana National Bank, downtown Indianapolis. This is 35 miles from home. I had come home the evening the blizzard started. I told my Dad if I stay at a friend's house near St. Rd. 252, I should be able to get to work the next morning. He said, if you want to go to work, your better go now(5:00 p.m.). There is a blizzard coming. So I stayed home. I remember the electricity did not go all the way off, which burned out the furnace. We turned the oven on and opened the door. We also had a fire going in the fireplace. The next day I called a friend to see if everything was all right. There was another family staying with her, but the two husbands did not make it home the night before. I asked if there was anything they needed. She told me. So I walked two miles to her house, with a large garbage bag dragging behind me. In the bag was toothpaste and milk. There were some young kids at the house. The wind was not blowing, so it really was not bad to walk. I was 28 years old. My family and I never stayed home when the weather was bad. We would get on the John Deere tractor and drive 3 miles to play cards at another family's home. We even went to the sectional at Columbus(15 miles south of us) by driving the tractor 2 miles to another friend's house and going with them. I love snow( this was after the 1961 snow).
Cheryl Jane Houston
Boy, do I remember the Blizzard of '78! I was 17. I was a junior at North Central High School. At the time, there was a coal shortage, which meant we had more days off from school than even the snow gave us - about 9 days in all, if I remember right. But for the first few days, the whole city came to a stand still. My friends and I pulled a sled down 86th Street through Nora to buy groceries for neighborhood families. 86th and Meridian had no traffic. You couldn't even see where the streets were! I remember tramping through 9 and 10-foot snow "dunes" in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church at 86th and College Ave.
so much trouble getting pregnant and had so many disappointments and I was sure this time it was for real. Needless to say I didn't get there and had to wait five days as we lived on a country road which was one of the last to be cleared. Those for some of the longest five days of my life. Happily the news was good and in September of 1978 I gave birth to a son. As he is my only child I will always remember that time.
Mary Ann Thornburg
I moved to Indianapolis after I got out of the Air Force in 1977. Having been raised in southeastern Idaho I was used to bad winters. My father-in-law at the time thought I was nuts for wasting my money to put studded snow tires on my old 1970 Olds Delta 88 that fall. I was working as an electrician at Amtrak and going to night classes at a business school to take advantage of my GI Bill. The evening it started snowing I was coming home from class and remembered seeing snow and wind like that when I was growing up in Idaho. When I woke up in the morning my suspicions were correct when I saw all the snow and the snow drifts. I couldn't go to work for four days but the old car was making trips to the grocery store the second day. My father-in-law never questioned me again about using studded snow tires in the winter anymore.
I have sinced moved back to Idaho but my son and daughter and their families live in the Indianapolis area so I peridodically check up on the news in the area by using the internet.
We were snowed in for almost 2 weeks. I was a kid out in the rual areas of Crawfordsville. I love having this story to tell to my kids. Makes me feel like we really had it rough. Actually it was great. Just went back to school after a 2 week christmas vacation and got another 2 weeks off for the blizzard. I remember we had a snow drift on our barn entrance that went well over the doors. I'm sure it was anywhere between 12'-15'. Great for making tunnels. Too bad we didn't realize how dangerous tunneling under aprox. 10' of snow really was. You get really creative when you run low of groceries too. My father owned a tractor dealership at the time so he had a lot more equipment at his disposal than most people. But it didn't matter much until the drifting ended. It was some really good memories rather than bad I'm happy to say.
We had a Poodle back then. Though she had a little Airedale mix in her, she looked all Poodle. The snow drifts that were as high as the chain link fences that every house had in our block. That made for an easy bridge for our dog to walk from yard to yard. Well, you can guess the rest; as the snow drift melted over the next month or so, she learned to step over the small bit of fence that appeared, then hop, jump, and finally leap over a 3 foot fence. By spring, our poodle was hopping over every fence in the neighborhood like a champing high jumper. I hope the German Shepherds didn't develop a complex after that. I have been in Bloomington, IN since December ' 96, but I have a blizzard '78 story from my experience in Bolingbrook, IL. I was working in Oakbrook, IL and we got released from work early because of the snow and I made it to Bolingbrook, which took about 2 1/2 hours, and it was only 25 miles. I still had a 20 mile road trip ahead of me to Joliet, IL and by then, there was at least a foot or more of snow on the ground, with the drifting to about 3 ft. I proceeded to get on Interstate 55 and there was only one lane by 4 pm, and I could not have been going over 10 miles per hour, the slowest I have ever gone on a major highway. There were cars and truucks that pulled off to the side of the expressway and the thought crossed my mind, but the snow was covering the cars so quickly, that I kept driving on because I knew that there would be no help comming for awhile. Visibility was very poor and I drove ever so slowly, and I finally made it to my parents house after 7 pm, my heart was racing throughout the drive because I lost count of the slide off's and cars that opted to park and wait it out. The next day on TV, all you could see on the news were people getting dug out of their cars and a few who were not so lucky, along I-55, I was so thankful that I made it home safely. I still think the blizzard of ' 67 was worse, but that might be because I was 8 years old than, drifts were over 8 ft tall and you could walk from roof top to roof top on ranch style homes. Our family "enjoyed" the Blizzard of 1978. It started out as a fun time with the snow drifted so high that the kids could play on top of cars by just walking the snow. We live in the country and the snow drifted even higher with no houses to block the drifts. Snow plows did nothing, but a local business sent their payloader to open the roads so we could get out for formula, and necessary supplies. It was very comforting that everything came to an abrupt halt. Families that had made it home were bound together for days. No more running to dance practice, etc. Our "fun" came to an abrupt halt when three of our four children broke out with Chicken Pox. Not only were we bound together, we were itching together. One of our children had a very bad case and we had to call for an emergency physician to help out. With treatment and school closings, they only missed one day of school due to their illness. Their only regret was that they could not play outside more.
We were also very fortunate that we had stocked the cupboard before the snow hit and, of course, this was just the beginning of warnings for everyone to stock up on bread and milk. A couple of weeks later another snow hit and the shelves in the stores were completely empty. To this day, it still brings a secret inner thrill when we receive warnings of large snows and then a little regret when it is not fulfilled, because we can't bring everything to another complete halt and stop all the hustle and bustle and enjoy our friends and family.
We had a Poodle back then. Though she had a little Airedale mix in her, she looked all Poodle. The snow drifts that were as high as the chain link fences that every house had in our block. That made for an easy bridge for our dog to walk from yard to yard. Well, you can guess the rest; as the snow drift melted over the next month or so, she learned to step over the small bit of fence that appeared, then hop, jump, and finally leap over a 3 foot fence. By spring, our poodle was hopping over every fence in the neighborhood like a champing high jumper. I hope the German Shepherds didn't develop a complex after that.
I have been in Bloomington, IN since December ' 96, but I have a blizzard '78 story from my experience in Bolingbrook, IL. I was working in Oakbrook, IL and we got released from work early because of the snow and I made it to Bolingbrook, which took about 2 1/2 hours, and it was only 25 miles. I still had a 20 mile road trip ahead of me to Joliet, IL and by then, there was at least a foot or more of snow on the ground, with the drifting to about 3 ft. I proceeded to get on Interstate 55 and there was only one lane by 4 pm, and I could not have been going over 10 miles per hour, the slowest I have ever gone on a major highway. There were cars and truucks that pulled off to the side of the expressway and the thought crossed my mind, but the snow was covering the cars so quickly, that I kept driving on because I knew that there would be no help comming for awhile. Visibility was very poor and I drove ever so slowly, and I finally made it to my parents house after 7 pm, my heart was racing throughout the drive because I lost count of the slide off's and cars that opted to park and wait it out. The next day on TV, all you could see on the news were people getting dug out of their cars and a few who were not so lucky, along I-55, I was so thankful that I made it home safely. I still think the blizzard of ' 67 was worse, but that might be because I was 8 years old than, drifts were over 8 ft tall and you could walk from roof top to roof top on ranch style homes.
Our family "enjoyed" the Blizzard of 1978. It started out as a fun time with the snow drifted so high that the kids could play on top of cars by just walking the snow. We live in the country and the snow drifted even higher with no houses to block the drifts. Snow plows did nothing, but a local business sent their payloader to open the roads so we could get out for formula, and necessary supplies. It was very comforting that everything came to an abrupt halt. Families that had made it home were bound together for days. No more running to dance practice, etc. Our "fun" came to an abrupt halt when three of our four children broke out with Chicken Pox. Not only were we bound together, we were itching together. One of our children had a very bad case and we had to call for an emergency physician to help out. With treatment and school closings, they only missed one day of school due to their illness. Their only regret was that they could not play outside more.
I left the GM Proving Ground at Milford Michigan on January 25 1978 at 6:30 p.m. headed for Anderson, IN in a relatively new personal car; no company cars had been available when I left. It had just started snowing a short time before we left. A friend was with me. By the time that we got to Fort Wayne, we considered stopping for the night; it was a good thing that we didn't for we would have been there for at least three days.
From Fort Wayne to Anderson, the only way that I could keep the car on the road was to follow directly behind a semi as it plowed the way through the snow. When I got to Anderson to drop my friend off, I almost got stuck getting out of his subdivision. As I went South on Madison Avenue South of 53rd street, luckily Madison Avenue had been plowed recently. Even then, the snow drifts were high. As I turned into my own subdivision on Imy Lane, the snow drifts were so high that the only way that I could get through was to drive through them as fast as I could, slowing down as I hit a drift and speeding up before hitting the next. I finally ditched my car in my driveway at 1:30 a.m. the next morning on top of a snow drift. A couple of days later, we had to shovel out the drift from under the car just to get it on the ground and in the garage. The snow drifts around the house were up to the eaves.
January 25, 1978 is a date that I will never forget.
Edward T. Parker
I was in 8th grade and we had a BLAST during the Blizzard of '78!! We were able to get our snowmobiles out and get out before the snow plows could even attempt to get out of the garages. We rode all over Adams County, picking up our friends on our snow mobiles and having a great time. The snow drifts were HUGE! I will always remember it! Trudi Smith I remember the bizzard of 78'. I was 11 years old at the time. I was so excited when i got out of bed to hear there was no school. I remember looking out the front door and seeing the snow up to the porch. I ran and ate my breakfast and beg my mom to go out and play. Finally she said o.k and I ran called my friend next door to come out and play. As I was plowing my way to the street I can remeber saying "boy this snow Is as tall as I am" We dug tunnels from my house to hers ( which was 3 house down) . We had a blast for the whole week we were out of school. I wish my kids could see a day like I seen because that will be a winter wonderland I will never forget!!!!
I was in 8th grade and we had a BLAST during the Blizzard of '78!! We were able to get our snowmobiles out and get out before the snow plows could even attempt to get out of the garages. We rode all over Adams County, picking up our friends on our snow mobiles and having a great time. The snow drifts were HUGE! I will always remember it!
I remember the bizzard of 78'. I was 11 years old at the time. I was so excited when i got out of bed to hear there was no school. I remember looking out the front door and seeing the snow up to the porch. I ran and ate my breakfast and beg my mom to go out and play. Finally she said o.k and I ran called my friend next door to come out and play. As I was plowing my way to the street I can remeber saying "boy this snow Is as tall as I am" We dug tunnels from my house to hers ( which was 3 house down) . We had a blast for the whole week we were out of school. I wish my kids could see a day like I seen because that will be a winter wonderland I will never forget!!!!
Oh, how could anyone forget the Blizzard of '78. I grew up in South Bend
and I was in the 7th grade. My dad travelled on business so he was out of
town. My mom was a nurse for the St. Joseph County Health Dept. and they
were closed for several days....and they never close! I recall my mom and I
baking alot of goodies and neighbors going to the grocery store for one
another, bringing back groceries on sleds. I also recall many sledding
trips to local hills and I never got cabin fever the entire time we were
home as I was thrilled to not be in school. All us neighborhood kids had a
blast playing in all the snow. I also recall tying sleds to bumpers of cars
and going around the block. Probably not the safest thing to do, but heck
is was 1978! I vividly recall my dad taking home movies and pictures on
the first day of Spring '78 and I'm standing in our front yard ontop of
probably 3-4 feet of snow holding a sign that read "Spring 1978". I have
both the movies and snap shots, but don't have the capability to attached
them to email.
Carol A. Smith
I was a freshman at Taylor University. Our one-month January term ended on Thursday, but my class ended one day early, so I got to go home to Kokomo on Wednesday. I had heard that snow was coming but I wasn't that concerned. I had agreed to give two other students a ride home. In Kokomo, snow was falling but I wasn't worried. We dropped the first student off in Galveston, and I headed toward Monticello up US 35. Near Logansport the snow's intensity increased, and I was a little more concerned. When we turned west onto US 24, it looked like NO ONE had EVER been down that road before! I had never seen anything like it! We crept along US 24 at 20-30 mph and finally made it to Monticello.
In Monticello, I called my parents in Kokomo. We had to decide whether I should remain in Monticello or drive back home. Though it was now dark, I decided to drive. It was one of the scariest drives of my life, especially with US 24's curvy roads and steep embankments along the Wabash River. The snow was blinding, and I could barely see in front of me as I drove all alone through my first serious snowfall as an 18-year-old driver. Once committed, I knew I had to keep going. Eventually I got behind a snowplow, and I followed it most of the way to Kokomo driving 10-20 mph.
To show how blinding and disorienting the snow was, as I approached Kokomo I had NO IDEA where I was (and I'm a life-long Kokomo resident & excellent with directions!). I was completely turned around, thinking I was entering the west end but actually was on the north end of town. Eventually I made it home. Normally the trip from Monticello to Kokomo is about 45 minutes, but it took me nearly 3 hours until nearly midnight! I was very fortunate.
I enjoyed several days at home with my family, playing in the snow and playing games. Drifts came up to our roof at our house's west side. Of course, all of my Taylor University classmates were stuck at school awaiting the exams for the January term! The start of second semester was delayed a few days, while I enjoyed extra vacation time at home. Still, I'll never forget my first experience driving through the Blizzard of '78!
I was a freshman @ Bloomington South riding home from school when the snow began to fall. By the time I got off the bus the snowflakes were falling the size of Pringles can lids.This continued for about an hour dropping what seemed to be about 4-5in.Then the snowflakes returned to what would be considered normal size,however at a much faster rate .In the next few hours the winds picked up to what seemed to be about 35-40mph.I watched in total disbelief thru the night as the snow drifted from above the road in our yard 10 ft up to a point 1ft. above the bottem of our roof.We had about 2ft.to open our front door.2 weeks later to the day Ralph Rogers sent a payloader down our road to clear the drifts.Our driveway had been cleared for 13days.We made an igloo in our yard that lasted till April.
My husband had just passed away in Sept, I was between jobs with 3 children ages 9 & twins 7. I was out of money and food. A couple of friends of mine who had 3 small boys lived about 6 blocks east of me. He had just got paid so they had money, but no fuel oil. I told them if they could get to my house they could stay here, but he'd have to buy groceries. Right, if you could even find anything. They walked through all that snow and got to my place. He then proceeded down the street to a little corner grocery store. Of course the main stuff was gone, but he wound up with some cereal (no milk) biscuits, and some other odds and ends.
There we were 3 adults and 6 kids in a small 5 room double. I had a base station CB radio set up and we took turns being the base station for 4 wheel drives that could get out for medicines and emergency help. The only picture I have of the whole ordeal was one of her little boys (about 2) had messed his clothes; he stripped down stark naked, turned a diaper pail upside down and was standing on it, dancing.
Once the fuel trucks could get out (about 4 days) and they got heat, they walked back home. For a long time we laughed and joked about the crowding situation here but no harm came to anyone and looking back it was very funny.
They moved a couple of years later and I totally lost track of them.
Thanks for your time.
I remember the National Guard trucks going down the street; I believe they
were called in to deliver supplies and medication to those with medical
problems. The second night of the blizzard, the snow was blowing HARD. My husband, who was looking out the window, said he saw a bird across the street, struggling in the snow against the wind. Ever the bird lover, he
promptly dressed in his thermal underwear, insulated pants, jacket, muffler, hat, gloves, and boots and braved the storm to rescue what turned out to be a leafy branch stuck in the snow!
My parents and I lived in Walton, IN; I was 4 years old. I have wonderful pictures, but don't have a scanner! Anyway, I remember that no matter how hard I looked, I just couldn't take it all in! Plus, it hurt my eyes!
The snow fell in a perfect slop from the ground to the roof of our garage. Although I my mother was scared, my dad convinced me I could "climb the mountain" to the top of the house. I sure gave it everything I had, but it was just too slick - after all I was only 4!
Although it can be a pain, I think events like this should happen a bit more often. It MAKES people stay home, relax, bond with their family, and remember what is important in life. (Even though I would like the time off to finish my doctoral dissertation!) Americans are work-a-holics and it's a shame. Consider this: Do you know of anyone who ever had "I wish I had spent more time at work" etched on their tombstone?
Hoping summer comes fast!
My husband and I were living in Bloomington. I was in my second year of
teaching at West Middle School in Martinsville and my husband was a grad
student at IUPUI.
Two friends of ours who were still IU students called in the middle of
the blizzard to say they knew if they were stuck in their apartment
together for more than a day they would kill each other, so they were
coming over. Even though they only lived four or five blocks away, I
begged them not to risk it. You could barely see beyond the front porch
of our house and I was afraid they would get lost and die!
They didn't listen. They were willing to risk what I THOUGHT was
certain death for what they KNEW was certain death. An anxious half hour
later I saw two parka-clad figures approaching the house. They had their
backpacks loaded with all the food, games and beverages they had.
We made a huge pot of chili, baked cookies, played cards, danced,
laughed and had a great time. We made up our own game modeled after the
old Milton Bradley game of Careers. Ours was Carouse and we had careers
like waitress, which required a philosophy degree.
At one point we had to venture out on foot for supplies and saw an
enterprising college student on a motorcycle pulling a sled loaded with
cases of beer.
We spent three days together and had a great time. I think the most
shocking part of it all was the fact that IU actually shut down the
Communications Dept. Chair
Brownsburg High School
Director of Communications
Brownsburg Community School Corporation
We were in Mooreland, Indiana, I was 8 years old at the time. I remember my father was stuck in Muncie snow plowing with his truck and couldn't make it back. We were about 2-3miles north of Mooreland and we ran out of fuel oil. My mother separated the house and we stayed in the kitchen dinning room area. It was heated by the stove. There was snow covering the front bay window, the bay window was at the top about 7 feet from the ground.
While we were trapped I remember we still had a great time. We stayed inside the house and watched tv together and played games. After about a day we realized we didn't know where the cat was. Her name was Donna and she was a Siamese. Well my mother find her on a register in one of the bedrooms with icicles on her eyes from crying. We immediately brought her into the new living are and she quite promptly gave us a scare. She jumped up into the stove to get warm.
After the snowing stopped were heard a knock at the glass sliding door, it was my grandfather on his horse in about shoulder deep snow. We found out that my father tried to make it back but got stuck in the snow. His truck was so deep in snow that when the big plows came through they actually didn't even know he was there and plowed him.
I remember very well the great blizzard. I was 11 years old and living in Columbia City, IN just west of Ft. Wayne. We owned the local Dairy Queen and my older sister who worked there but lived about 35 miles away in Waterloo got stranded at our house for several days. We were fortunate to have a snowmobile and dad and I would make runs to the stores (when they were open) to get food and other essentials for us and our neighbors. We also had a large deposit from the DQ that we couldn't get to the bank so we would play poker and pretend we were really high rollers betting hundreds and thousands of dollars.
I remember a snow drift on the east side of our house that went all the way up to the roof, you could walk under it next to the house like a frozen waterfall. Remarkably for a small town, C.C. did a great job of clearing the streets. A local farmer and well known auctioneer the Schrader family, had a huge tractor with the biggest snowblower I'd ever seen attached to the front. I wish I still had copies of the local papers because there was a picture of him blowing the streets around the county courthouse and throwing snow several hundred feet!!
My story probably isn't much different than most, but here goes. My husband had left with 4 friends to go to
To attend Jimmy Carter's inauguration. They were gone for 4 days! Yes.....it was during the blizzard that they were gone.
I was at home with our 3 small children, 8, 3 & 6 mos., in the small town of
Needless to say, I was an extremely happy lady to see my husband when he returned from
I well remember the Blizzard of '78! I was a newlywed at the time and the
snow started during the working day. I couldn't get home from work with my car because we lived in the county and the roads were miserable. I had a maintenance employee use the 4-wheel drive pick-up from work to take me home. They could only get to the end of my road and I had to walk about 1/4 of a mile to get to my house. I was a crying, sniveling mess when I finally arrived!
Then, I was just excited to be snowed in with my husband!
We lost our power and used our wood burning stove to keep warm and to cook on. We put refrigerator items in coolers and stuck them outside to keep cold. At first we couldn't get out of the house through any of our doors
(facing south, north or east) because the snow had blown up on all of the
doors and literally "locked" us inside! We dug our way out finally using
ridiculous items like yardsticks and serving spoons! When we finally got
out on the road (after 5 days I think), I remember the county roads being
only one lane and they felt like tunnels in some areas because the snow was piled so high on both sides. During that time too, we did have friends
with snowmobiles who came to visit and bring us some grocery items.
It was an adventure but not one I really like to repeat!
Well, maybe if I had power this time.
Sally Kay Lambert
I remember the Blizzard of 78 very well. When all of the snow started I was sleeping since I worked midnight to 8am at INB. Around 11pm I received a call from my boss telling me to pack a bag and report to work. I had not been watching the weather so I was surprised when I went outside and saw all of the snow. I began to realize how much snow we had as I pulled out of the apartment I was living in at the time. The only other vehicle on the road in from of my 73 mach 1 was a National Guard Half Track. As I was driving downtown my wipers were working overtime trying to keep the snow off of my windows. Finally they gave up on me and for the last twelve blocks I used my hand scraper to clear my view as I drove along. I went to work because the bank had to stay open and I was supporting a young family with one child and my wife at home and another due in March or April. After I got to work we made sure everything was up and running so all of the ATMs and branches could open. As I started to watch Bob Gregory on TV he kept saying 4 or more inches. I thought this was funny since we had already seen over a foot and more was still coming. We continued to keep the systems up and running and finally a state of emergency was declared and we were given approval to close the bank. It really got very interesting around work because we started to run the restaurant out of food. We even ran the Hilton out of a few items since we were staying there in shifts. After our duties slowed at the bank a call had gone out asking for anybody with a four wheel drive vehicle to assist local officials with transportation. A good friend that I worked with had a Jeep CJ7 so we jumped in and offered our help. We made runs of everything from oxygen tanks to shut-ins, to transporting police officers, medical runs, whatever was needed. What the city would have given for the volume of SUVs available today. One guy in particular we swapped a run with because he had a Blazer, he picked up an expectant mother and lucky for them she delivered in his vehicle instead of ours. It was at a time when our city was still small enough that people helped others in need. As I came in to work today your crew filmed me driving to work in my Tahoe, like doing the speed limit was a criminal act. Just remember in 78 we were the same people who left our families behind to help others and would be the first to do it again if called upon. I am no longer working for INB but as a public servant with the stigma attached to it. I hope this gives you a little insight into why some of us now drive SUVs before it became the trendy thing to do. We lived through the blizzard of 78 and served others. Perhaps that is also why a lot of those same people now own SUVs.
In 1978, I was 11 years old and lived with my family near Butler University. I recall that IPS was in school for 9 days during the month of January and the high point of every day was waiting to see if we were called off for yet another day. We have several photos of my Dad digging out the 4' drifts from our driveway - would you like any of those?
My favorite memory, though, is of the orange T-shirt we bought at G.C. Murphy's in Lafayette Square (remember *that*?) in the spring, emblazoned with the logo "I Survived the Blizzard of '78" - I think my husband and I even used a picture of me wearing it - with shorts and flip-flops, in the summer - in a video we showed at our wedding this past November.
Valerie Ashanin Abshire
I'll never forget the Blizzard of '78. Even now people will take issue w
what year it happened, but those of us stuck somewhere will never forget
it. I was a young woman of 22 initiating a new career.
I had just moved back from FL after graduating frm Respiratory Therapy. I had never lived in "the big city" and felt lucky I was able to find University
Hospital much less work there. I worked night shift and drove a little
Datsun. I was a bit nervous driving on snow and ice, since it had been
years. But that night was especially bad; I had to stop @ every light to
clear the snow and ice from my windshield and wondered if I was going to
make it to work. But, I had to be there because I didn't want to let anyone
After I arrived, everyone was in a panic making plans for their exit ASAP; even those scheduled to work. We ended up with 3 people to run
all the ICU's and floors for 3 days! This is a tall order for a hospital
that has the sickest of the sick. Specifically, I worked in the most
critical care areas where emergencies were constantly happening. It was
critical to even ensure oxygen was available when someone crashed because there was almost no one to run supplies to the floors, which was the simplest of tasks. We had no one to clean, much less sterilize
equipment. All life support equipment and rounds were put on the most
conservative sch possible. Treatments were only given to the most in
need. Sleep was done in a tag team fashion. I slept possibly 6 hours total
and was exhausted by the time they let us leave the hospital. No one was
allowed to come in and no one was allowed to leave.
When it was all said and done, they only paid us for, maybe, 8 hours extra even though I worked 72 hours straight. I don't even remember what we did for money and food; I know I didn't have enough for 3 days straight. All we were told by our managers was "just do the best you can", then we hardly got a thank-you in the end.
I personally want to thank all the nurses, doctors, and therapists who added humor and comradery to a very tenuous time. This experience sure gave me a very real perspective to the statement "I'll be there come hell or high water" or in this case snow.
Unless you were there you could never understand the stress of carrying such a tremendous responsibility to preserve life.
Hope I get stuck @ home next time.
Debbie J. Weisenborn
My birthday is January 10, 1968...I remember when this blizzard hit. We
lost power to our home (we lived in rural Delaware County)..I think maybe it was out a few days. I remember we had no source of heat, my parents lit all the candles and oil lamps we owned! They hung sheets and blankets from the ceilings and doorways to minimize the air/drafts into the family room.
This is where we stayed at least two nights. My dad was a volunteer fireman and I remember other firemen picking him up on snowmobiles so they could respond to a house fire. This was the only way you could get anywhere.
Love and God Bless,
I was just a kid then and I was in the hospital at Methodist in Indianapolis. I had just had brain surgery and my father was stuck at the hospital with me. I remember that several of their employees could not make it in and some of us that were in better shape had to pitch in where we could. It was also a great time for my father and I to spend sometime together.
I went in to work at 12:00 Midnight, At IPL power plant at 3700 S.
Harding St. I worked for 61 hours before I was able to go home. And that was for only eight hours, Then I went back in and worked for 16 hours.
When I hear someone talk about being cooped up at home, it makes me
mad, I worked hard to keep the electric on so they could be inside keeping warm and doing nothing.
But that was my job and I did it for the people of Indianapolis.
Julian Leon Lucas
I was supposed to have been married on January 28th. But when the blizzard hit, plans of course had to be changed. My husband-to-be was totally snowed in his house in Whitestown, (because it covered the WHOLE house!) We had guests coming from as far as Crawsfordville. The day of my "wedding", I was ready to have my own ceremony via conferance call with the minister. But needless to say, the marriage didn't last ten years. My memories of that weekend will.
I was 15 years of age when the blizzard hit. Yes, I was glad to be out of school, but the length we were out started to wear on us. I had a horse that was quite spirited and my mom really thought the horse would be the death of me. I broke her myself and through all the training she never threw me once. The first day the sun came out after all the snow had fallen I deceided to brave the elements and take my horse for a ride. The scenery was so beautiful, the ice on the trees and the mounds of snow everywhere. The snow turned out to be quite a blessing....we were galloping down the middle of or deserted road when out of the corner of my horse's eye she saw the ice on the trees and stopped on a dime, and I went over her head and head first into a 4 foot mound of snow. All my friends and family know that the only time my horse ever threw me was right after the blizzard of '78 and I was very grateful for all the snow. I was unhurt, but cold...
At the time, I was 15 years old, and living near the airport in Muncie on New York Avenue. My Dad had been stuck at work for more than 24 hours and was able to drive to a major intersection near our house. (Wheeling and McGalliard) Our house was nearly a mile away and we lived on a dead end street. He had on a fairly warm jacket and some gloves, but nothing that could sustain him for the walk home.
He notified us by CB radio that he was close to parking the car at a gas station. At that time, I set off with a large coat, and hat. I had to leave the house via the garage door, as there was no way to open our front door because of the 3' drift. I remember having to literally roll over the tops of drifts as I walked along. I can remember that at one of the intersections along the way, someone's truck had stopped running and it was parked to one side of the road. A huge drift had formed and it extended across the road, running clear up to the gutters of the ranch homes that were located to the East and West of the road. The drift was a good 5' high and I had to dive through to get on the other side.
Overall, the walk was very cold and sometimes difficult (especially to breath at times) because of the high snow..about 10 to 15 inches. Small drifts across the road were numerous, but at times the road was pretty clear. After walking close to 3/4 of a mile, I met up with my Dad. He put on the warm coat and hat, and we set off walking back to the house. I was tired, after the 1 mile plus round trip walk, but Dad had been up for about 36 hours straight. I can only imagine how glad he was to finally make it home.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my story.
My little sister was born in 1977, bringing our family to 3 girls. So, in the blizzard of 1978, I was 10, my older sister, Beth, was 11, and Michelle just a baby of five months! Our dog, Butch, enjoyed playing in the snowdrifts (he was part husky!), Dad had to shovel, and we (me and Beth) enjoyed making snow angels and having snowball fights. I think we even built a fort in the front yard of our house. We grew up in Mooresville, where our parents still live (as do I, with my kids), in the same house they now live in. It was a lot of fun, but I'm sure our Mom was definitely ready for us to go back to school! I know that she baked a lot of bread and washed a lot of diapers! (Luckily she used cloth diapers for Michelle!) We all managed to stay sane and make it through, but I'm not sure I'd be able to nowadays, with my two high energy kids!
I was living in Lafayette, my sister was due with her 2nd child. They lived 10 miles north of West Lafayette in a rural area. Her and her husband came to stay with us because the baby was due in 2wks. I lived 3 blocks from the hospital. Her husband left for work the morning before the snow started to come. He was a store manager of Marsh in West Lafayette at the time. By early evening, the snow had really started to come and the wind starting to blow. Her husband called and said that he had to stay at the store because they were going to stay open 24hrs for customers. By the next day, we were in the mist of the blizzard. Yep, your thinking correctly, she started labor. We called 911, they started to come but got stuck. We ended up flagging down a truck who took her to the hospital and she began delivery on the elevator. Called her husband, who was able to find a way to the hospital. Adam was born on Jan. 28th.
I will never forget the year of the blizzard because I was pregnant with my third child. I was snowed in with my other two children ages 9 and 10 and my husband was snowed in at the factory where he worked. We had a big Oldsmobile station wagon and the snow had blown underneath it and raised it up so much that the kids could walk from the roof of the car onto the roof of the house. My husband got home in a couple of days by snowmobile. Some friends of ours worked for the police dept. and brought him home. Thank goodness the phones never went out because the police department kept tabs on me to make sure I was doing all right. But I lucked out and didn't have the baby until March 6th. All my neighbors call my son the blizzard baby. Of course he is not a baby at the age of 25. So no I will never forget the blizzard of 78.
My girlfriends and I were out most of the evening and driving home was really very beautiful. The next morning, I received a call that there would not be any work.
At the time I lived across from the Coca Cola Field (near the Speedway), so there was quite a bit of drifting and this caused some strange things to happen. On one side of the drive into the apartment complex there was very little snow while on the other side the cars were practically buried. To get the cars on the northside out a man who had an earthmoving business came in with his heavy equipment and picked the cars up by the bumpers and put them down on the southside of the street.
I walked up to the A&P store to get a few things and saw a strange indentation in the snow. I looked at it carefully and realized that I was about to step on the roof of a Volkswagon that had been parked on Georgetown Road and completely buried.
In 1978 I was a 12 year old newspaper carrier delivering the Indianapolis News papers on my paper routes that ran from 32nd & Delaware to 28th street and back up to 32nd and Washington Blvd. On this date nothing was running, but the newspaper truck some how managed to deliver the papers to my house, and then I knew I had to get to work. My dog and I started out on our deliveries, we managed to make it through the ice and the snow safely and deliver all the papers. But what is so special about this date is that for a brief moment, the WTHR news reporter and camera crew was driving through the neighbor hood and managed to film me and my dog Pinky out in the snow and ice delivering the newspapers. Every year about this time when you run the film of the Blizzard of 1978 I get a quick glimpse of my dog and I being on camera in the snow and ice.
Patrick S. Appleton
The winter of 78. I remember it well. I was in the hospital, having back surgery. My wife was home with two small children. When the doctor said I could go home, I called my wife. She said the snow was drifted in front of the house, up to the eves. And, as we lived in the country, the plow had not been through. We lived about 200ft off Hwy. 22, east of Kokomo. The state had been down, and it was passable. I had to stay in the hospital. In the hospital, nurses were having to stay all night. No one was aloud to be on the roads, by order of the sheriff. Doctors and nurses that lived in the county, could not get to and from the hospital. Then my wife called and said a local contractor, Bill Name, of Name Paving, had gone down our road with his payloader. Then another neighbor paid to have our drive cleaned off. But I still had no way to get home, as my wife didn't want to take two small children out, and the county had ordered people to stay off the roads. And would arrest any one caught out. So what to do. I had worked for the civil defense. So I called the director, I knew him, and ask if he could have their CD ambulance come take me home. He said sure, as his men were setting around wanting to help. The doctor told me I had to lay down for some time after surgery. So the CD ambulance came to the hospital. Came up to my room with a gurney, took me to the ambulance, and took me home. When home they took me into the house and put me in bed. If not for a lot of nice people working to get me home, I would had to stay until my wife could get me. I thank God for all the help, from so many. My wife and my children were very glad to see me home and safe.
At that time, I was working for a Real Telephone Co. (Indiana Bell) for just under 8 yrs.and was working as a Testman for the Indpls. East District. My work location was 5727 E. Washington St. and I lived in beautiful downtown Lawrence. The morning the storm hit, I was supposed to be at work at 5:30 a.m. My alarm went off at 3:00 AM. I looked out my bedroom window and couldn't see my garage, which faced East and had black doors. The snow drift was 8' high. At 5:30 I called into my work location. (remember I was to be at work then) I reached a supervisor and advised him that I couldn't get to work. (he said he didn't know how he made it in)
At about 8:00 AM he called me and asked if I would come to work if they could get a 4x4 to me. Being young and feeling bad about not being at work, I said yes. Plans were up in the air at that time and he told me that if they were able to secur, e a 4x4 he w, ould call me. I relaxed in my easy chair with a cup of coffee and waited for a yeah or nay call.&, l, t;, P>, At , ab, out 10:30 a.m., I saw a 4x4 pickup pull into my next door neighbor's driveway. I recognized the other person in the truck as a supervisor from my employer. Still in my robe, I stuck my head out of the door and hollered that I would be right out. I got into cold weather clothes and wadded out to the truck. Enroute to my work location, the snow was so high that we drove over a VW going over the 38th. Street bridge over 465. We stopped at a grocery store at 10th & Arlington to get sandwich makings and proceded to work, arriving about 12:30 p.m.
I sat at the testboard and answered the very few calls that came in. At about 2:45 p.m. I was notified that my ride home was leaving if I wanted to go. We left at about 3:00 p.m. and I got home around 6:00 p.m.. Arrangements were made for a company truck to pick me up on Saturday and I was promised a ride home that night. It made for an interesting weekend.
And so, as Cronkite use to say..."And that's the way it was..."(Or was going to be) for me back then when I was 28...and just 1 1/2 years into being married and living on South Madison Avenue with my sweet Georgia born wife of nearly 24 years old. We lived at Valley Forge Apartments on Madison Ave. and had only one car back then, a '77 black Ford 'Granada'. That "Big Bad Storm" was predicted 'key-recked' as you, Mr. Bob...and the 'other TV/Radio Weather Guys...and Gals' had said. The boots, hats & heavy winter coats at the Southern Plaza JCP were going fast, and the shoe department I was working in at that store under the direction of Mr. Kaplan was experiencing some "desperado business": "...I'll give you $25 dollars for that last pair of boots in stock !" "...But Mamm...the size won't fit you if you say you wear a 9 1/2 ! These are size 8 1/2 !" "...I DON"T CARE...I ain't going to freeze my toes off with this 'killer storm' a commin'!! I'm DESPERATE !"
...And so it started to come...and "Dang-It"...if I had kinda waited at the last minute to get for my mom, who lived in the Lawrence Township area, her birthday gift for that late January! My young bride & I decided on getting her a plant arrangement at one of the nearby flower shops just up the street. ...Sooo I pulled in at the small flower store that early evening after I 'topped off the car's gas tank' at the Shell across the street from where we lived, and told the owner at the flower shop..."My mom's birthday is tomorrow and I would like to send her via FTD a plant arrangement." Can it get there BEFORE the storm 'let's loose'...by tomorrow??" The answer... Ha !! You know the answer..."You want it when??"...Ha ha ha... [oh oh....looks we got a 'moron' here...is that about right?]
ANYWAY...so the winds "Howled" the dark gray heavy clouds around...the rain came quickly as cold...then icy...and the temperture started to drop 'to the south' some more !! ...It was "Houston...we got a problem here" time coming on us Hoosiers...and "transplanted from the Deep South residents" in Hoosierland! And GREAT was the wind during the night!! I said a few 'special prayers' like "Dear God...don't knock the power off..." and "...Dear Lord...hope we can do well with what groceries we have! Help us to make it through the next two days, please." (I wonder if that helped us?? Seem to, cause we made it through all in all...P.T.L !)
But let me tell you, Mr. Bob...the MOST vivid memory of that "Blizzard of 1978" I remember was, how STRONG that wind just pressed against our apartment bedroom window through the first night...and going out two days later to get some groceries up the street at a grocery store...a walk on 'near silent BRIGHT WHITE DEEP COVERED snowy/icy roads'...with an occasional 4 wheel truck going by...and a snowmobile or two on Madison Ave. !
Ooo I've been through some 'doosies' in Indiana...yet that '78 Blizzard seem to top them all !!
I lived near 54th and College and my brother, was in med school at the IU. He came by and picked me up on Sunday around noon to drive down empty streets to Market Square Arena. We saw the Pacers play against the New Orleans Jazz and Pete Maravich. With only about 500 in attendance we bought tickets for the cheap seats, but sat about 15 rows up and midcourt. I think the Pacers lost.
I remember being at work--at Steak and Shake on 71st Street. A friend of mine's Dad came and picked us up--he had a truck, and that was the only way around. At the time I lived in Carmel, where my friends parents lived too, so we went to her house. My brother and a friend of his was stuck at my house--a little walk-up apartment in downtown Carmel. I couldn't belive the snow!! And the wind!!
Driving was getting really bad, it was around 10 pm when they closed the store, you could hardly see anything. If you didn't know where the roads were, you were lost. We made it to my friend's parents, where we spent the next 4 days--the snow had piled up so high against the patio door you couldn't open it--it was over the door.
I did get ahold of my brother, he was fine, but couldn't leave due to the snow, nor could they let my little dog out, so they put her on the roof when she had to go out--it was a funny sight when I finally drove up and saw my dog running around on the roof!!!
I was 23 at that time, but can still remember it like it was yesterday--my parents without power, but they had a gas stove, so all their neighbors came over to their house, my brother and his friend at my apartment and me, stuck in the outskirts of Carmel. The snow piles were so huge--mountain sized, you could sled down them. It's a time I won't forget, but hope I never go through again But it also showed the true spirit of people, and how they all helped one another when they really needed it--with food, heat, a ride, or just to help shovel out.
Maybe it takes something like that to happen every once in awhile to get people together, because thats what I saw, true friendship.
During the blizzard there was a natural gas explosion in High St. Church.
When the fire department opened the doors, the church exploded. Fortunately no one was seriously injured. The building looked like a bombed building in Europe from W.W.II. It took two years to reconstruct the building. Now the church is prospering as a downtown church in the city of Muncie.
As the church was being rebuild $1,000,000 was needed to pay for costs not covered by the insurance company. The Senior Pastor, Rev. Hunter Colpitts, had the idea of a miracle Sunday when the money would be raised on one Sunday. Sure enough, Miracle Sunday produced an offering of over $1,000,000!
Rev. Jack Hartman
I worked evenings for Ice Miller on the Circle. An senior attorney who lived at the Columbia Club told the three of us to head for home because the weather was increasingly bad. I lived in Broad Ripple and my parents lived in Eagledale. At first I went home (actually the Red Key Tavern!) and tried to phone my mother and got no answer. My father was safe in Methodist Hospital, due to receive a Pacemaker the next morning, but I was worried because it wasn't like my mother not to answer the phone. I tried for 45 minutes to get her and, with a foot and a half of snow already on the streets I headed out to Eagledale. The going was very, very bad; the snow on 38th Street was drifting 2 to 3 feet high in some places and I plowed through the drifts by sheer determination. My car was slipping and sliding sideways from the ice and snow, while the wind was ferocious, blowing my car from lane to lane. I finally got to Georgetown Road, turned south and had an even worse go of it because of drifts, now over 3 feet high. I turned right on 34th Street to Winton, careening down Winton through what seemed like even bigger drifts to 32nd where we lived on the corner. Turning onto 32nd, my car slid sideways into the gutter, my rear wheel slamming into a sewer opening; I was stuck, but thankfully nearly in front of my parents' house. The 40-foot walk to the front door was truly frightening as I was exposed to the wind and not inside a warm automobile; I was leaning very far forward to keep my head down and into the wind so I wouldn't be blown over. Panicky, I let myself in and hollered for my mom, "Mom, are you alright?" and I heard a small, weak voice in her bedroom in the back. Nearly exhausted and scared out of my wits, I ran down the hallway to her room and there she was. "Oh, I didn't hear you; I'm watching Johnny [Carson]." She hadn't heard the phone ringing off the wall.
But God is merciful. I spent the next four days socked in at home with my mother who would have been alone in the ordeal. The wind sounded like it would tear the roof off our little home and the furnace never stopped once in four days. Mom baked and I ate. And ate. My father's Pacemaker surgery went very well as there were many doctors and nurses who couldn't leave the hospital that night so staffing was no problem. He came through it wonderfully, and so did Mom and I.
I mostly remember the aftermath; the 10-foot drifts cut through by snowplows and, sadly, the animals that were caught in the storm and died, only to be revealed when the snow melted later. It was a horrible storm, but a great lesson on how nature is often underestimated. And we must make sure to bring our pets indoors or provide adequate shelter for them in such circumstances.
Thomas G. Test
I remember January of '78. The VERY beginning of the blizzard. I was in the second grade. We were let out of school early because the roads and the storm was getting bad. I walked home with my neighbors (the fifth grader). Good thing. When we reached our street, I was over waist deep in snow and he had to carry me the rest of the way home. My mother and I spent the rest of the blizzard at my grandparents. Oh!, and of course sledding. Looking forward to geting another one...ya know, all grown up now, I wanna play with the big boy toys.
My step daughter was born January l0th l978. Her mother went into labor with her and they had to have a snow plow come and get them in Anderson to take them to the hospital. Pretty tense situation, Im sure. I on the other hand was just at home, glad to be out of school. I put our snowmobile to good use.
When the blizzard of '78 hit, I was living in an apartment in downtown
Crawfordsville. It was over Fashion Shoes and Bob Remley was my landlord.
I was fresh out of college and felt pretty good about being on my own.
The TV stations kept forecasting a blizzard and I remember the morning
before it hit, I walked down to the post office to pick up my mail. I looked
around and the sky was sunny. There was no snow to be seen anywhere.
That night, the blizzard hit and I thought it was cool the Indianapolis TV
stations stayed on the air all night, running old movies and giving weather
updates. I think it was the very first time the TV stations in Indianapolis
were on all night. It was also the first time I remember the graphic on a
bottom corner of the screen showing the state of Indiana and indicating what
counties were likely to be hardest hit.
I watched a little black and white TV in my bedroom and played solitaire
until I fell asleep. When I awoke, the room was cold. I got up and found the
wind had blown the window latch in my bathroom out of the woodwork. There
was a fine covering of snow all over my bathroom!
I shut the door and decided this storm was more severe than I had thought!
As I recall, the snow was piled up in store parking lots until, maybe, June
Crawford's Food Store was located directly behind my building and I made
plans to break in if I needed food, but thanks to the Red Cross it didn't
come to that. A friend and I walked over to their office once a day for a
hot meal until the roads could be opened up.
It was truly amazing!
Blizzard of 78 was the day the earth stood still!!!
Seeing the interstate deserted and only the army's 6x6's able to travel any distance was a site to behold.
4x4's were mostly worthless.!
You could not buy fuel, and if a station was open 24 hrs, the poor, cold tired attendant hadn't had any sleep. They could not go home, so you would knock on the door,and wake them up to turn on the pumps.
THE TEMPERATURES WERE -50. WE DIDN'T HAVE CELL PHONES 25 YEARS AGO!!!
There was many acts of kindness, I was hung up on Warman Avenue by Central State and a very nice old lady who was afraid to let me in called a friend of mine to come pull me out.
Seeing snow drifts to the top of telephone poles was a site not to be forgotten.
IT WAS SO QUIET YOU COULD TRULLY HEAR A PIN DROP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was a freshman at Purdue University. The university shut down for the
first time in history for 3 days due to the wind chill factor and snow. No
one was venturing outside much. Instead of "studying", I learned how to
play Euchre. I got a well rounded education.
At the time of the blizzard I was still living in Terre Haute, where I had grown up. But my best friend and roommate, Bill, was living in Indianapolis with my fiance's brother while he did his student teaching at Ben Davis High School. Now my fiance's roommate was engaged to Bill and was committed to seeing him every weekend, come hell or high water (or, in this case, a blizzardful of snow) and so early Sunday the three of us left Terre Haute in a small orange 1973 Toyota Corolla bound for Indianapolis on I-70.
Even though it was a few days after the real snow fall, the interstate was still officially closed, and except for a few semi trucks, we pretty much had the highway to ourselves. One lane was passable, but our exit from I-70 onto I-465 near the airport was very dicey. Not too many others had attempted it before us. We made it, and eventually made it all the way to the apartment close to 71st and Michigan.
We stayed until dark and then headed home, again having the road pretty much to ourselves. By going slowly and determinedly, we got back to Terre Haute late that night.
I guess we figured if we could drive from Terre Haute to Indianapolis shortly after a blizzard, we could pretty much do anything. So when spring came, the two couples of us exchanged roommates and got married a few weeks apart. Bill and Elaine Koehler stayed in Terre Haute until a few years ago when they moved to Budapest to serve as missionaries. My wife, Marty,
and I have lived here in Indianapolis since 1982. We still enjoy walking in the snow, especially when it is new fallen and you're the first to leave your
footprints. But we've had enough of driving in it.
January 26th 1978. A day I won't ever forget. I was six months pregnant for my second child. My husband and I worked at the VA in Marion. The VA was in desperate need for employees as was with most places. If you were there when the storm hit you stayed there. My husband was bound and determined to get into work. He was a supervisor at the time in food service and I was a nursing assistant. He dug the truck out of the drive way on the second day and he hauled me and himself from Gas City to Marion. The only people on the road were National guard personnel and some 4x4 vehicles and my husband with his two wheel drive truck (he is a very determined individual). After we got to the VA they informed us that all nursing personnel would be bound to stay on the premises. They housed us for sleep in cycles on an old pschiatric building. Finally after 48 hours we were allowed to return home.
I was a senior at IU. My friends & I were at The Hop all day long. People were coming into the bar with sleds, buying cases of beer & then pulling the sleds out of the bar to their apartments or houses. It was sooooo much fun.
Daylight had broken through yet the wind and swirling snow made visibility nearly impossible. I shoveled for what seemed like eternity trying to dig my car out of the apartment parking lot. Undaunted by accumulating snow I was determined to report for duty at the I.U.P.U.I. Police Department that first day of the Blizzard. I lived at 34th Street and Ryblot Ave. and believed if I made it to Lafayette Road it would surely be clear enough to make it to campus. Temporarily defeated I returned to my apartment to dry out and warm up before attacking the snow again. Moments later I looked out at my car where drifting snow quickly covered all my previous effort.
The fleeting thought of walking to work crossed my mind.
My wife at the time was a nurse at I.U. Hospital and advised she had received a call while I was out shoveling. The Hospital asked her to be on standby and they would try and send someone to pick her up as staffing was critically short. A short time later a knock at the door revealed a National Guardsman who reported that he had been assigned to escort essential personnel to the hospital. Identifying myself as a I.U. campus police officer I asked for and received a ride as well. I was excited as a rookie police officer ready to do whatever was necessary to deal with this weather emergency gripping our city and nearly shutting down the campus.
There were only a few of us on duty to serve the entire campus and the
hospital complex. Our priorities quickly became assisting the hospitals in
whatever way feasible. I still remember the bitter cold as I sat in my patrol
car in an empty parking lot that was routinely cleared of snow so helicopters could land to shuttle patients and medical supplies into the campus. I sat on the edge of the lot with the red lights flashing marking the landing zone for the pilots. No matter how long I sat there the normally efficient heater in the Chevy Malibu would not warm up enough to keep me from shivering. On one occasion a helicopter landed very close, and skidding along the ice covered pavement nearly collided with my patrol car. I was ready for a new assignment.
Near the end of the second day we were barely able to travel the emergency routes within the City. I was assigned to check the IUPUI off campus
properties at the John Herron School of Art, our 38th. Street Campus, and
respond to an intrusion alarm at the School of Physical Education located at 1010 W. 64th. Street. Arriving at 64th. Street first, I recall wading through drifts nearly waist deep as I walked from 64th. Street into the gymnasium complex. Fortunately the alarm had been activated by the winds rather than an intruder. The next stop was the 38th. Street campus. I found everything secure but upon returning to my patrol car I was stuck in the snow unable to gain enough traction to move. Frustrated, I returned to the Krannert Building searching for a shovel of any type to dig my way out. As I returned with a long handled coal shovel an elderly man in an old pick-up truck observed my troubles and pulled against my bumper to push me back out into the street. I began to believe things were looking up but the wickedness of this extreme weather struck again. As the truck tires spun it quickly became hung up, unable to move in the deep snow. I will never forget the bitter cold and frustration as it seemed like forever digging us both out. I recall the bitterness of this extreme cold yet today.
Returning to campus cold, wet and exhausted I needed a hot shower, food, rest and a change of clothes. The doctor's locker room at the old Robert Long Hospital became a refuge. I vividly recall how a couple of colleagues and I looked dressed in hospital scrubs complete with badge and gun belt while our uniforms were laundered. I am certainly glad there are no pictures to support our "blizzard fashion".
I was on duty going into the third consecutive day before enough of our staff were able to make it in and relieve those few of us stranded "on duty". Most of my memories during this event deal with cold, dangerous winds and lessons learned. I admonished myself for being more focused on getting to work rather than being ready for an extended tour of duty ,and vowed never to be so unprepared again. Since that time I always have a bag close by with a change of clothes, toothbrush, razor and necessary toiletry items. Along with those lessons learned I'll always appreciate the teamwork of my fellow colleagues as we all endeavored to preserver such extreme and dangerous conditions.
I hope Bob Gregory was accurate in his description of the blizzard as a "100 year event". To this day I shudder at the forecast of heavy snow and feel a
long remembered bitter chill that makes me shiver 25 years later. I hope I
never have to endure another event such as the unforgettable blizzard of 1978.
Director of Public Safety
Yes, winter of '77/'78 was an unforgettable experience. I was employed by
In State Highway. I snow plowed I69 and other northern highways. I most remember
having a fellow snowplow driver find an elderly couple along the highway that had passed away due to being stranded out there too long. It really woke up a young 18 year old like myself into realizing just how dangerous those conditions were. We would be 10 and 20 miles away from any living persons many times, trying to get highways open. A lot of times out of radio range. We worked constantly for days until the governor shut even us down. By that time there were places (I won't forget this either) where overpasses were even completely covered, no passage under them at all. When we were shut down, I had to stay with strangers because I couldn't get home. When we were called back to work, I couldn't find my car, it had been COMPLETELY covered with snow I had to walk to the highway garage. Needless to say, we had several weeks of cleanup to do and not much sleep for quite a while.
Even as tuff as it all was, I will always be grateful for getting a chance to experience it and will always consider it an "excellent adventure!"
Randall L. Dunn
In January, 1978 I was Director of Pharmacy at Methodist Hospital. I tried in the early morning to dig out my driveway to no avail. I called in and was told they would send a 4 wheeler to get me. I waited until afternoon when 2 jeep wranglers arrived(they sent 2 so if one got stuck, the other could free them). On the way, we also picked up 2 or 3 nurses. By the time we arrived downtown, we were all frozen and it took an hour or two to thaw out. We in Pharmacy then worked 12 on-12 off. On Friday, we were dangerously low on some drugs. We arranged for an Army Reserve 2.5 ton truck to pick up the manager of a wholesale house in Carmel and then pick up what we needed. Also, on Friday the Cafeteria was low on food and I can remember eating peas and fish for lunch. I slept on the floor of my office on bubble pack that we used to pack drug in the pneumatic tube. I finally got a ride home on Saturday afternoon.
I was just a small child of 9 yrs old& I was not in central Indiana& I was in Gary, IN. I was snowed in at a local diner for almost 2 days. I slept in a booth for most of the time. The most unique thing was I got to make donuts (out of can biscuits) with a sugar/cinnamon mixture. The most fun came from all the "Free" juke box music I stand! The dining room became our own little DISCO (Disco was still cool then). This also was the first time I understood what a 4X4 vehicle can do! I think I was almost mad that my mother and I got rescued by a family member. (which incidentally--They were driving a 4X4 Ford Bronco) I can honestly say& Blizzard of '78 was a good time for me& Especially since I lost my mother in '97.
I was almost 18 when the blizzard of 78 hit. I was on my way home that night from work, having no idea that a blizzard was on its way in. At the time I was working for my dad in his grocery store, and was smart enough to get some groceries before leaving for home. Half way home I realized that the weather was getting very bad and wondered if I would make it. We lived out in the country on a dead end road about 1/2 mile from any other houses. It took me over 3 hours to make the trip that would normally take 25 min.
I almost made it to the driveway but unfortunately found myself in the ditch. With no one home I knew that I had to get in and get the groceries in at the same time. I think that it took me about 20 minutes to get to the house even though I was only about 50-75 feet away. My dad called to say that he couldn't make it, and that the weather was going to get real bad, but not to worry that he would keep in contact with me since I would be all by myself.
Once in I started a fire and worked as hard as I could getting wood in, just in case of power loss and our dog (a St. Bernard) lol I thought I would need him for safety. I lost power for most of the night and off and on the next few days. The telephone was out most of the time, which made me wonder at times if there was anyone else really out there. Being all alone for that period of time taught me a lot about myself. It was 3 days before anyone could get out to me and that was by snow mobile. I was never so happy to see people! I think that everyone should have to be all alone with themselves, it makes them aware of themselves and really appreciate all the people who they are normally around.
We will never forget the Blizzard of 1978. Our first child, Matthew Serricchio, was born at Methodist Hospital on January 12, 1978.
He was born prematurely and spent several days at NICU of Methodist Hospital. We brought him home the day before the blizzard. Thankfully, my in-laws arrived from New York just before the blizzard. We were all safe and sound in our home with a new baby! However, we were not totally prepared for this new little one!. I recall it being quite a challenge getting to a lab in the Glendale area to have his bilirubin checked one day. We had him so bundled in a snowsuit and blankets. The most vivid memory was living on Barnstable Court in Indianapolis at the time of the blizzard. Many of our neighbors were out shoveling the snow. We learned the grocery store on 71rst Street and Graham Road was open because an employee lived nearby and walked to open the store. It is one of those times in our community when we call come together in a time of need.I will always remember my husband, Mark, our neighbor and your sportscaster, Don Hein, Lante Earnest and Dave Morley walking to the store with a sled to purchase food for all of our families. Our son needed soy based formula and we were fortunate to be able to purchase it that day. We spent the next few days in close quarters facing the joy and challenges of a our newborn son. I recall calling our pediatrician, Dr. Cumming, with questions on a daily basis!Yes, each year as this milestone approaches we fondly recall being very thankful that our son was home and we were together as family.We have the Indianapolis Star from that day in with his baby book. We remember Mayor Hudnut wearing his Racers hat while out and about in our city. It will be a special time this year as we celebrate Matt's milestone 25th birthday and recall the stories and laughter with family and friends of that time in our lives. We will never forget the Blizzard of 1978.
I was a music teacher in the Speedway schools that year and working on my master's degree. I had a class at Butler University the night of the blizzard. The snow was just beginning to fall when class started but we watched out the windows as things got worse and worse and our professor went on and on. We were finally dismissed and I started driving home down 38th street. There was no other traffic on the road - an amazing thing in itself. I had to keep myself on the road by looking at the overhead signs - the landscape was just snow. An icicle built up between the glass and the windshield wiper on the driver's side so my field of vision got smaller and smaller but I was too scared to stop for fear of being unable to get moving again. I did make it home, totally exhausted, and awoke to a winter wonderland I only observed from the windows since the wind chill was way below zero. Since the Speedway schools had no busses it was a joke among the teachers that the schools never closed for snow and teachers were always required to show up no matter what. Even the Speedway schools were closed after the blizzard.
In 1978 I was 6 years old and in the second grade. My
memory of the blizzard of 1978, aside from the snow
drifts that loomed half way up the front side of our
house, was my walk home from school. I was walking home
from near by Maple Crest Elementary school and it had
begun snowing. I was delighted to see the closer I got to home the more it snowed. I actually
remember being worried. My worries were erased when
just over half way home my mom came to walk with me.
We walked in the blizzard together.
That to me is a good memory of the blizzard.
My family lived in New Castle at the time of the blizzard. My brother (age 5) and I (age 7) built our own igloo with room after room in the snow. The snow reached the top of the clothesline poles! (We still have the pictures). I also remember how the roads were like tunnels because the snow was piled so high on each side. We couldn't get out of the front door of our house because the snow was so high. Definitely a snow storm I'll never forget!
The blizzard of 1978 caught me completely off guard. I live about 15 miles north of Noblesville and about 2 miles north of Perkinsville on SR37. My husband worked in Marion at Fisher Body (as it was then called) 2nd shift.He left early thinking that he would be able to make it home. We were
raising his three younger siblings and had two children of our own. The ages ranged from 2 years old to 17 years of age.
I was a stay-at-home housewife, needless to say and it was a good thing. We heated our home with wood and I had the kids help me carry firewood closer to the house so I wouldn't have to walk so far to bring it in the house. I checked the basic food groups and found that we should have been fine. Should have been is the operative phrase. I didn't plan to be stuck for three to four days with no outside help. Needless to say, my husband didn't make it home for a few days. I think they slept wherever they could and they emptied the vending machines. I am not sure how many were snowed in.I was fortunate that a truck stop, then called Wheeler's, was open and a few workers as well as customers were stuck as well. I walked to the truck stop after 2 1/2 days to get milk and cereal because the kids had cleaned out the pantry. I didn't mind that, mom's do what they have to do. What I wasn't ready for was the fact that the snow had piled around around our house and was to the top of our garage. I must tell you our home is a 1 1/2 story brick ranch and I had never seen anything like that before. On my journey 1/2 mile down the road, I almost ran into a car that was stuck almost straight in the air - kinda like it was catching a wave on the top end - and
it was really a sight. Well, in a few days they made a tunnel down SR37 and my husband made it
home. We were no worse for the wear. There are no children at home now so
if that happens I will relax and sleep. Something that there was little of
during that cold winter blizzard!
I had just received my driver's license when the blizzard of '78 hit. It was weeks before my parents would let me drive the car for fear my inexperience would land me in a ditch somewhere. As a parent of driving teenagers, I now understand their apprehension, but I will never forget sitting in the driver's seat of our car, parked in the garage and pretending I was whizzing down a highway.
Pamela D. Ross
TINA M ZOOK
Being a contract hauler (owner/operator) for Riss International of Kansas City at the time, I had left Chicago on Wednesday with a load of marshmallows to be delivered in Mechanicsburg, PA.
Snow had begun to fall as I came into Indiana so I called my wife at home in Greencastle to see what the conditions were. She said that there was probable no need to try to come home at that time as conditions were very bad there and the county roads were nearly impassable.
Normally I would have traveled across Indiana via U.S. Highway 30 in order to save money on tolls. But, I decided to try to "outrun the storm" by taking the Indiana Toll Road instead.
By the time I had reached I-69 at the Angola exit conditions were so bad that the toll road people were only plowing one side of the highway and that to little avail. So I decided that I had better exit the toll road at that point.
I went into the parking lot of the Angola Truck Stop (Union 76 at that
time). I was probably the last truck to get into the parking lot. After driving around the lot several times trying to find a spot to park, I finally followed another truck into the automobile parking area where we were both able to park. As time went on later that evening many drivers were forced to park on the ramp. That's where I stayed until the following Sunday.
Needless to say there were many interesting stories that developed during that 3 1/2 days. Some drivers were running out of fuel in their parking space with no chance to get to the pumps, therefore they were carrying fuel to their trucks in 5-gallon cans. Some drivers were paying one of the truck stop employees to carry the fuel for them. We wondered why the State Highway crew came in and cleared a path to the motel on the hill until we say an ambulance arrive and later learned that the truck stop employee who was carrying fuel by hand had apparantly suffered a heart attack and had
died in His room.
Many stories developed on the CB radio such as the fellow who, after a couple of days of waiting at the entrance of the toll road (the toll road was closed to traffic) was heard on the CB to say that in about 15 minutes or so he intended to crash through the gate if necessary in order to get to the service area because he was hungry and his truck was about to run out of fuel. We later heard that a State Trooper had come to his rescue and either escorted him or gave him a ride to the service area. On Sunday afternoon I began to see large equipment arrive and start to clear some of the entrance ramps. As soon as I could see the southbound ramp to I-69 being cleared I left my parking place in the truck stop and was waiting for the endloader to clear the last bit of snow from the entrance ramp so that I could be on my way. I believe that I was probably the first driver to leave the truck stop and get onto I-69 at that point. I proceded South (instead of East toward Pennsylvania) towards home. After several hours of switching lanes and driving through snowdrifts I was finally able to arrive at home in Greencastle. I did deliver the load of marshmallows to Mechanicsburg the next week.
I recall the blizzard like it was yesterday. I was 8 years old then (I'm now 32). I lived in a 2nd floor apartment at a complex on the far west side. Our balcony was near the perimeter fence. The snow had drifted to a depth of about 6 or 7 feet (I'll explain how I knew that in a minute) between the building and the fence. My friends and I got an early start in making snow castles, preparing for the obligatory snow ball war later that day. At about lunch time, we all went to my apartment. Looking out the balcony door, we all saw how deep the drifts were (almost up to our balcony). Without saying a word, we all had the same idea. We climbed over the balcony rail and jumped, feet first, into the massive mounds of drifted snow. We were all, literally, in over our heads (that's how I knew it was 6 or 7 foot drifts). We proceeded to dig snow tunnels the full length of the drift, which was about 20 feet long, if not more. I recall my mom's reaction as she came out of the kitchen just in time to see us go over the edge. She was scared and furious all at the same time. Once she saw we were all okay, though, we just got a pretty good scolding. That winter was the best I'd ever had...to this day. I keep hoping and waiting for it to be like that again. I hope Bob was wrong...I hope it come's again, before 100 years! This 6 and 7 inches just ain't enough! That's my story. Thanks for offering the opportunity to relive it again, if only in my memories.
I remember the '78 blizzard very well. I got to the hospital just in time to deliver a baby girl & was stuck in the hospital with a skeleton crew for 3 days. I had to take care of my baby, change my own sheets, go down to the cafeteria if I wanted anything to eat, all with a splitting headache from the spinal I'd been given during the birthing process. I'm not complaining though. I'm glad I didn't wait another day; otherwise, my daughter would have been born at home.
Thanks for the chance to recall those long ago memories.
Burrrr... it was cold that night, expecting some snow, but that wasn't going to stop us. We had our weekly penny-ante poker game planned at one of the guys house and we were going to play. I drove just down the street to pick up Darrell and then across town (Noblesville) to pick up Jack. We were headed to just north of Cicero to our fellow workers house. Dallas was furnishing all the snacks and soft drinks for the evening when we arrived around 6 p.m. I pulled down the small incline of a driveway and parked the car. We settled into the kitchen table and began to play, not knowing that it had began to snow, and snow very hard. A little after 9 p.m. we took a break and someone looked outside. We couldn't believe our eyes. We decided to cut the evening short, and head for home. It was around 9:15 when we walked outside, cleaned the car off and tried to get back up onto Highway 19. Thanks to three guys pushing and one steering we managed to get backed onto the road and told Dallas thanks and said we would see him tomorrow at work. As we drove south on 19 through Cicero we were listening to the radio and it telling us how bad it was out and not to go out unless it was an emergency. To late! As we left Cicero for the seven mile trip to Noblesville the road was almost none visible. Everything was white and the wipers were having a tough time keeping up. Being we couldn't tell where the edge of the road was from anything else, we were only doing 10 miles an hour at best, hoping we were still on the road. The snow kept getting deeper. I think we were all a little scared but no one said anything. I don't think we passed one vehicle until we got back into Noblesville. I drove towards Jack's mobile home, but we couldn't get up the hill to the mobile home park, so Jack got out and started walking up the hill through drifts two feet high. We told him that we would see him tomorrow. Darrell and I backed down the road to a cross street and luckily got turned around and headed for home. We lived north of town a little over 1 mile. I drove on the main streets where a few vehicles had gone. The snow and wind had increased since we hit town and by the time we were coming down our street it was almost a white out. I stopped in the middle of the road in front of Darrell's and he got out to make the walk up his drive way to the door. I went on down the street and tried to turn into my driveway. I got out and walked upto the garage and opened the door and took out a shovel and moved some snow at the end of the drive hoping so I could get turned into the driveway. After backing up and pulling forward several times. I was able to get enough momentum to drive up and into my garage. It was 5 minutes till 11 p.m. It usually took us 20 minutes. I called the other guys to make sure that they were alright, expecting to see them in the morning. It was two days later, that Darrell and I got out and walked to town to make sure that everything at work was OK. It took us over two and half hours to make the trek. Some snow was over waist deep. We all worked at the Noblesville Ledger. We missed only one day of not printing a newspaper. but had several days we printed, but had a hard time getting them distributed.
That is what I remember most about the Blizzard of '78.
I was a 7 year old boy who was just amazed at the amount of snow and the size of the drifts. I know as a little boy that the images in my head are probably bigger than the actual drifts, but I remember having snow drifts so big that we could "sled" down them. The snow drifted over our vehicles and it was next to impossible to go anywhere. Neighbors (we lived in the country) would try to clear our road, but it would basically close back over right behind their plow.
Honestly, it was a blast for me, as a young child I was able to play in the winter wonderland, but I know that it was definitely a stressful event for my parents. I am sure that there are some pictures somewhere at my parents house. I will have to see if Mom can dig any up...no pun intended.
Thanks for rekindling my memories...
I was only 15 years old. My girlfriend was 16 years old and she came over to Elwood and got me that day, before the snow came. She lived in Alexandria. About an hour after the snow started, I remember her father telling me "You need to go home, the best way you know how." So I started walking. I don't think he liked me that well. All I had on was a jean jacket. I had no hat or gloves. It was about eight blocks from her house to Hwy 28. On to Elwood I go. I Thought I would get a ride once I got to the Hwy. Man was I wrong! I must of walked a mile and still no cars came my way. By now I was getting very cold. But I had no choice but to continue on. The snow was starting to really come down now and the wind was getting stronger. I started to think that this was not a good idea. So now what, I'm in the middle of nowhere. I can't go back and I don't think I can go on. My face and hands are like ice now. I pull my jean jacket over my head and kept on walking. Now thinking I was going to freeze to death, I started to really get worried. Is this the way I was to die? An just when I thought I could not go on I heard something crunching in the snow. I stopped and turned around to see what it was. It was a car pulling up beside me. I could hardly see the car.But from what I could see of the car it was an older car, like in the 50's or 60's. The side windows of the car was frosted over so I couldn't see who was in it. I really wanted to see who was in there. Like it should really matter at this point. And then all of a sudden the door open up and this person grabbed me and pulled me inside. And before I could say anything this person open their coat up and tucked me in it and started rubbing my hands. After a few minutes I looked around to see who was in the car. I could not believe my eyes. There was four of the most beautiful girls I had ever saw in the life. I ask them, "What in the world were they doing out in this"? And one of them said that they was going back to there school. It was a college but I don't remember what one she said it was. At that time I thought I had died and went to heaven. The driver then said, we are in Elwood. Where do you want me to let you out at? And that is all I remember of the Blizzard of 1978.
P.S. I don't think I ever got to thank the four angels that saved my life that day. So if one of you remember the story as I did. I would like to thank you so very much.
The Blizzard of '78 has special meaning to my husband and I since 9 months later our first son, Nicholas, was born. We were living in Kokomo on the southeast side - Indian Heights. The subdivision was developed in circles with each street within another so travel was non-existent. We did have utilities after the first 36 hours. We weren't able to go out our front door or see out our front picture window as the snow was drifted clear to the top of our single story house. The local volunteer fire department was able to bring essential food items to the local elementary school on the third day -- milk, bread, hot dogs, diapers, toilet paper, etc. On the whole it was a fun time (remember we were 26 years old) in that we were housebound for 4 days. On the 4th day of seclusion, neighbors got together, pooled all our food items and had a wonderful pot luck dinner. We played games and told stories and then played in the snow. On the whole, the Blizzard of '78 wasn't much of a hardship for my husband and I. When I delivered our son Nick in November of '78 at St. Joseph Hospital in Kokomo, the Labor and Delivery Rooms were quite busy as there were a lot of children born the month of November in 1978.
In 1978 I lived in a little town north of Terre Haute called St. Bernice. I was a kid at the time with two older brothers and I remember feeling absolute joy when I looked outside. I knew that as soon as Dad could get us out, we were going to have the best snowball fight ever! We made "forts" that, to me, were every bit as big as a real fort. It was a real fun time for me but I'm not sure that Mom and Dad liked it that much!
I was in the 4th grade, living in between Mulberry and Frankfort. I can remember being out of school for weeks, with snow piled so high from our driveway after it had been cleared that my brother and I made a fort underneath the pile and used the top of it to slide down with our sled. This would be one of my best childhood memories!
I was in the 5th grade and as a child I loved the snow, my parents were in Hawaii. My sister and I were home with my oldest sister and her husband. I woke up to all the snow, but I was itching, not only to get out and play in it but woke up with chicken pox a very bad case of them. I mean I was covered from head to toe, but I begged and begged to go out . I was allowed to go out just long enough to get my picture taken by this big snow drift by our pool it was taller then me it was so awesome it look like a big white wave out of the ocean. So I remember the blizzard of 78 quite well. And don t hate me for saying this but I wish we would have another so my kids can see what its like to have alot of snow they love it as much as I do. Thanks for reading my story.
I was just fresh out of college (Indiana Central University), and was supposed to move into a new apartment. I had three friends who shared a 3-bedroom condo on the south side near campus. They invited me to bunk on their sofa for a couple of days until I could get into my new apartment.
Long about 10:30 that evening, one of my friends asked me to help dig out her car so she could get to work. The snow was very deep, even at that time of the evening. We knew the magnitude of this storm was going to be tremendous. She was a nurse at Wishard, and was very concerned that she
would be needed at the hospital that evening. Her other two roomies would not help her because they didn't want her to venture out into the storm. However, I did help her because I understood her need to be at the hospital. She got to the hospital and then couldn't get home when her shift ended! That was the last we saw of her for 5 days! But she called, and told me to use her room rather than sleep on the sofa! I felt guilty because she was bunking on a cot in cramped quarters at the hospital, but I felt glad because I had a nice, WARM comfortable bed to use! Mixed emotions abounded at that time. The blizzard and it's aftermath was beautiful but dangerous; fun but sobering; awesome and terrifying. The entire city banded together; neighbors, friends, complete strangers. It was something I'll never forget! Oh, by the way, I got into my new apartment about a week later than originally planned.
My parents lived in Flora and I lived in the country outside of Burlington at that time. They were moving to El Paso, TX and their furniture had just been loaded by the moving van when the snow started. We were taking off the next day from my home, I was to drive one of their cars, and my dad was driving the other. When we got up the next morning the snow was so deep we couldn't even get out of the house. I called our closest neighbors a couple of acres away and asked if they wanted to come over and play cards later. They were all for this. Then I said ... bring your snow shovel so you can dig your way in, we can't get out at all. After four days of cabin fever, I finally got my parents on the road. We took SR 29 to Indy and the snow was so high it was above the top of the cars. It was basically a one lane road all the way and every so many feet they would have a spot dug out so if you did meet another car one of you would have to back up and pull over. They were using a pay loader to scoop the snow on SR 29.
That was a snow storm I will never forget!
My parents lived in Flora and I lived in the country outside of Burlington at that time. They were moving to El Paso, TX and their furniture had just been loaded by the moving van when the snow started. We were taking off the next day from my home, I was to drive one of their cars, and my dad was driving the other.
When we got up the next morning the snow was so deep we couldn't even get out of the house. I called our closest neighbors a couple of acres away and asked if they wanted to come over and play cards later. They were all for this. Then I said ... bring your snow shovel so you can dig your way in, we can't get out at all. After four days of cabin fever, I finally got my parents on the road.
We took SR 29 to Indy and the snow was so high it was above the top of the cars. It was basically a one lane road all the way and every so many feet they would have a spot dug out so if you did meet another car one of you would have to back up and pull over. They were using a pay loader to scoop the snow on SR 29.
That was a snow storm I will never forget!
Dianah M. Louks
I was one of the many kids that thought that the snow was the neatest thing ever! I remember the snow being drifted so high, that we could literally walk up the drift and touch the roof of the house! Gosh, it was great times. I remember we had to walk to the store pulling a sled for groceries ~ only
to find the store pretty much bare. My parents and many neighbors took turns shoveling out of our street. Everyone took turns making coffee and keeping the folks working outside warm. I know we thought it was cool but as a parent now I am sure I would find it horrible!
Who could forget the Blizzard? Not me!
I remember the blizzard of 78 very well. I was a freshman in highschool, and yes we were snowed in for days. We had a foreign exchange student living with us at the time. He was from Paraguay, South America. He had never even seen snow before! I do have a picture of Reinoldo in the snow throwing a snowball. The snow was almost as tall as he was.
Well, after graduating mid-term just a few days before the storm and NOT missing any school, I had just started a new job a few days earlier. The night before the storm, my father and I had a big fight and I moved out and in with this man I was dating (actually, it was his mother's house). The night the storm started, this guy's mother decided she didn't want me staying there so she told me to leave (it was snowing pretty hard by this time) and I asked if I could stay until "Joe" got home from work. She said no, so I left. There I was, driving in blinding snow and wind from the westside of Indianapolis to a small town in Morgan County to a girlfriends house, crying all the way. I was working the midnight shift at a nearby factory and I called them to see if the plant was going to be open because of the heavy snow, and they said yes. I decided not to go, well I got fired but hey, I didn't get snowed in for 3 days at work either!! I made ONE good decision that day!! (p.s. Dad and I made up shortly after that, and I dumped the guy with the heartless mother!!) LET IT SNOW!!!!
Hi, my name is Dina Krieg still living in the Indianapolis area. I was 5 years at the time and I can remember walking in the snow up to my knees. My dad took us to Garfield Park to sled, we were one of firsts to arrive for the sledding event of the year. And to my delight Janie from the Janie show
was there and we got to be on tv. Now each time it snows, my children go to Garfield Park to sled.
I had just moved here from New England where we got snows like that all the time. I lived on the 2nd floor of a beautiful home on Talbott Street. I climbed down a rope off my back porch because the doors were blocked with drifted snow. I got my shovel and started digging out my doors, and my car. I had no idea that the roads wouldn't be clear. My neighbors thought I was
nuts. All things considered, maybe I was....
I remember that my dad was coming home from work during the blizzard. Mom had called him and asked him to pick up some groceries. He got stuck in a snowdrift about a 1/2 mile from the house. He managed to get to a house of a mother of a friend of mine. , ,, The thing I r, emember the most was 2 things really. I was happy, my dad was alright, but he lost the butter and a magazine Mom had asked him to get. We found them the next spring by the side of the road!
I was in high school at a friends house. Growing up in Indy we thought it was a regular snow storm and didn't think much of it. We were outside most of the time and listening to music, no radio or TV. So we knew nothing of the upcoming blizzard.Our goal that night was to make the biggest snowman in the neighborhood. there were about 10 of us, male and female. We got out wheel barrows and shovels and pulled in all the snow we could. there was plenty to be had. We finally had to get 12' step ladders to finish Frosty. It was getting late so I had to take my girlfriend home which was a couple of blocks a way. Boy did I catch hell from her Dad. But I still did not know about the blizzard. The roads were in decent shape so during the 4 mile drive home was no big deal. Like I said I grew up on the east side of indy. When I got home my parents were worried sick because they had seen all this develop. Yes I did catch hell. The next day my Dad and I got up and went to work. About 8 miles city driving in a Chevy work van. No one was on the road. Besides a few push and shovel jobs we made it fine.Once we got the main door and gate it had drifts above my 6' head. We shoveled ourselves in, made some coffee and waited for the rest of the company to show up. After not seeing anyone, we made some phone calls and were told we were nuts. We thought that we had to get to work no matter what. So we did some shop prep work and went home. Once there we built a snowman. Not as big as the one the night before, but I made it with my Dad.
I was at a conference in Kansas City and watching the perfect storm gather on TV--knowing all the airports would close and my car would be buried in drifts at the Indianapolis Airport. When it became apparent traveling safely wouldn't be possible to get back home, I called the airlines and arranged to catch the last jet out of St. Louis to Tampa...where I was "snowbound" in the
sunshine for four days!
We lived in New Market a small town about 6 miles south Crawfordsville IN. I was expecting my second child that was due on the 24th of January. We kept watching the weather on tv. My Mother called from Ladoga, telling me to send my son and cat to her house,then find some place to stay in Crawfordsville. My husband and I went to a classmate/friends house about 3 blocks from the hospital. Two guys and one guys girlfriend were there. We stayed up late watching home movies.. They could see the baby moving all around from across the room.
One of the guys worked nights and left for work at 10PM .. he wasn't gone very long and came back the snow was too bad..( and he had an old 4 wheel drive scout truck)
We went to bed and I woke up about 5AM, my back and leg ached. Then I noticed it would hurt then quit. At that time we had a dialup time and temperature number. I kept calling and hummmmmm my leg was hurting then stopping, about every 5 minutes. I waited until the alarm went off which was set for my husband to go to work. I got up and took a shower got dressed then got my husband up. I said "I think we should go to the hospital" He got up got dressed and we went in to the living room where the others were ohhhing and ahhhhing bout the snow clear up on the windows and it was still snowing (It was the morning of the 26th). I then announced it was time to go to the hospital..They all laughed and said "yeah wouldn't the be funny if you really did have to go?" It took a while to convince them I wasn't kidding. Then they were all scrambling around there not knowing what to do. We called the county highway department which was just down the road.. They gave him directions told them what was happening.. There reply was " Sorry that's in city limits you will have to call them." The guys were getting more nervous by the minute. So they decided to start the old scout and try to get me there that way. Warmed it up and 4 of us in the front seat. It had a bumper sticker on the dash that said " Not safe for pregnant women and children" I sat in the middle and my husband sat on the other guy. We had to go up through peoples yards to get out, the roads were blocked. Just as we got out to the main street as we pulled up to the stop sign here came the snow plow turning our way. : they decided maybe they would come and get me. So my husband jumps out of the scout and says, back up back up we have her in here. I wasn't going to change vehicles. It took a while to get 3 blocks.. I was really relieved when we got to the hospital..by this time it was around 8AM. Now the next thing was to get the Dr. there. We had been trying to call my Mom to let her know I was in labor. The phone lines were not working.. Finally we called her neighbor and she got the message to her. They got me prepped to deliver... Got word to the Dr. and he was going to walk to the hospital down the railroad tracks. I was on the delivery table before he got there. (With a hot toddy on his breath) At 10:18 AM I had a 7lb 10 oz baby girl. Back then your stay was 3 days. The snow was all the way to the top of the windows in my hospital room. We had the same nurses , they didn't change the sheets , and they baked their own bread there. The only way in was by snowmobile. We heard a few of those. No one could visit us. On the third day my Mom and Dad came to pick us up. The snow along 231 was pilled 8 feet in the air. it was like driving through a tunnel But we made it. She has two little boy's of her own now.. but to the friends that took us to the hospital she will always be "The Blizzard baby".
Marsha Walsh :)
OH yes I remember it. The night it started I was working down town and didn't know how bad it was. We were car pooling that day and three of us were in a car on the interstate. It was so bad that semi's had pulled off and had turned all their lights on to light the highway so that people could
see. We finally did get home. When I got up to go to work the next day you couldn't even see the car and the buses weren't running either.
The clincher was as I was watching the snow out my front window, my two young
daughters 7 & 3 work up and came out of their bedrooms covered with CHICKEN
POX. At the sight of that I wanted to dive into one of those snow drifts.
At least we did have plenty of food and even with the chicken pox we did
My dad, mom, sister, and I were cooped up in the house for a couple of days. After Dad dug his truck out from the snow (it got stuck in a snow drift while he was on his way to work), and all four of us piled into the truck cab and went to the grocery store about 1 mile from our house.
It was my 17th birthday, and Mom bought a cake mix. When we got home, she baked the cake, and we celebrated my birthday. It's funny (and nice) how simple things make such an impression. How many 17 year olds would be happy with a trip to the grocery store on their birthday? But, I was thrilled that we were finally able to get out. That cake tasted better than any I've had since and remains my favorite birthday cake of all time.
"Snow"!!!!!! Of course I remember the night Bob Gregory came on channel 13 to let all of us at Meridian Middle School know there would be no school! I was 13 years old and a day off school was like GOLD!! I wasn't planning on seven to ten days off school but it worked out that way.
I remember the electricity going out as the ice took hold of the power lines in our neighborhood. My mother piled blankets and sleeping bags in front of our fireplace so my brother and sister and I would be warm. We thought it was all very exciting! We needed to keep the fire going but trips to the wood pile became an adventure in and of themselves. The wood pile was only a few feet from the back door, but the back door was frozen shut with about six feet of snow blown up against it.
After a few days we were allowed to venture outside to a whole new world. My parents didn't have the money that year to buy snowboots for any of us so we grabbed breadsacks and pulled them over our tennis shoes. We fixed them around our legs with rubber bands!! It didn't really matter except going up hill was rather difficult. I slid down the sledding hill on "breadsack" feet more than on my sled!!Our neighborhood had been transformed into a winter playland. We strapped on our old ice skates and headed out into the streets. My skates were hand-me-downs and I had to stuff socks in the toes to make them fit! The streets had been plowed but there was a thick sheet of ice still covering the entire neighborhood. Hans Christian Anderson never had it so good!
We also could not figure out how our old dog kept getting out of our fenced backyard. Turns out a six foot snow drift had compacted against the fence and the dog just walked right over it!What I remember most was climbing up on the neighbors roof to sled down the snow drift that banked up against the side of his house. Great Fun!
Now that I am older I understand many lives that were lost that winter I promise to remember those we lost in as well as the lovely memories I have of waking up to a winter wonderland in 1978.
Mrs. Jay Dougherty
I was 21 years old and living in a very small apartment in Anderson, Indiana, however, I was working at the old AUL building in Indy. I didn't think of it as a disaster or anything like that, just a snow storm. I was later married in May and I am still married to the same man. I was telling my 17 yr old son just today, about what it was like.It was something!
I will never forget the "Blizzard of '78" (or the "Blizzard of '79," for that matter)! I was the music pastor at Northeast Baptist Church on Union Chapel Road, off 82nd Street and Keystone Avenue. On Wednesday nights we held choir rehearsal after a prayer service. After locking up the church, we were amazed at how hard it was snowing and how deep it was after such a short period of time. I loaded my wife, who was the church pianist, and our two daughters, ages seven and four, into our little Honda Civic and started for our home on the eastside. Traveling on I-465, I was quite thankful for the front-wheel drive of our little auto. Visibility was extremely limited, other cars and trucks were having a lot of difficulty maneuvering through it, and by the time I neared I-70, I was getting a little tense about the situation. It took us over an hour to make a 22 minute trip, but we made it safely and without incident, although we never got past third gear. The next morning we were doubly amazed to see the snow above the window sill of our upstairs window located over the front porch roof. That meant the snow was over 15 inches deep there. It did not take much persuasion to cancel our trip to school and work as radio station WIBC was giving long lists of closures. I remember thinking, wouldn't it be simpler to advise of any places that were actually open. I also recall hearing of fire trucks picking up and delivering nurses to and from their homes and the hospitals. Snowmobiles were not yet popular, so that was not usually a transportation option. Of course, the snow was only the prelude to the misery of those next few days. The cold was biting all by itself, but adding some wind brought that old wind chill figure down into some pretty big negative numbers. There was no mail or newspaper delivery for the first couple of days. Despite the motto of the postal service that it would deliver regardless of snow and other weather problems, they could not perform. But then several years before, a former postmaster, and later mayor, Charles Boswell, said (as a reason not to upgrade and enhance the fleet of city snowplows) that Indianapolis was not in the "snow belt." It was surprising how strong old habits can be and even overpower common sense. I refer to folks who felt compelled to take out their garbage or take their dog for a walk. Combined with the fact that they elderly and did not dress appropriately, those habits caused the deaths of several folks. I took the opposite course of action: I didn't venture out until about day #3. By then, ice had accumulated on my steps, sidewalks, and around my car (in addition to drifts). I had to borrow my neighbor's pick to break up the ice around my tires. As time went by, my neighbor and I eventually removed all the snow and ice from in front of our houses. That was work! We were so happy when the temperature finally got up to 0 F! When it got as warm as the teens, we could finally take off a couple of layers of clothing. Even the adults had the appearance of Ralphie's little brother (film: Christmas Story).We did not have television then, so radio was our link to the outside. I'm sure my girls played with every toy they possessed, we sang songs around the piano, slept with stocking hats on our heads and socks on our feet. Our family did not really experience any real hardships. We did have one concern: our heating oil was running low, very low. It was a welcome sight to see Bill Graham of Graham Oil Co. pull into the alley late one afternoon and fill our oil tank. Not only did he have to battle the elements and the unplowed roads, but there was the possibility that the fuel oil would congeal due to the wax. I'm sure that on one or more occasions, I said something to the effect that if I did have to shovel anymore snow, I'd never complain about mowing the lawn. I may have said it even in the form of a prayer. After the blizzard of '79, I received a job offer in California. The first town we lived in had a motto of "above the fog (of the valley) and below the snow (of the Sierras)." It did snow once in three years. But for the last 20 years living in Southern California, I've been exempt from shoveling snow. We live 12 miles from the beach, but if I want to see snow, I have view of the San Gabriel mountains at the end of my street. As I write this (on Boxing Day, 2002), Indianapolis has 8 inches of snow and a high of 23 F (chuckle, chuckle). Here, it's sunny and 64 F! And I have no regrets.
All I remember of the blizzard is that I was a college freshman stuck at home in Northern Indiana over Christmas break in my hometown of Knox. The small town was deserted those few days. We could not get out of the house with our car, so I donned my backpack and hiked across town (about eight blocks) to get some groceries. It was strange to see snowmobiles on the city streets as the only form of motorized transportation. The hike in the snow was a welcome relief from the ensuing cabin fever that was creeping up on me.
During the height of the blizzard, my father was driving his normal route between Farm Bureau Insurance offices as part of his job as regional sales manager. He was forced to abandon his car on the side of the highway and seek shelter with a family in rural Indiana. They were very gracious in
opening their home to a complete stranger. I recall that his story of hospitality to strangers was fairly common during the blizzard of 1978. It still amazes me and gives me hope that people in Indiana open their hearts and homes to those in need in times like this.
I was only about 4 months old when the blizzard of '78 hit. We lived out in the county of Bargersville, and from the stories my parents tell, we were stuck in the house for days. Eventually running out of diapers for me, they resorted to dish towels.
We have pictures of the snow piled so high against our house, you could walk up the snow on to the roof. We lived off state road 144, and our mile away neighbor came along with a sled, he and my dad walked into town when they finally opened Bucks, the general store. Along the way they stopped at every house to check on everyone and to see who needed what, then delivered it all on the way back. My dad said on state road 135, the snow drifts were so high that they ended up cutting out a hole for cars to drive through, and once the snow started to melt, there were dozens of cars in the drifts that no one was aware of. One of my mom's good friends was pregnant with her first child and ended up having to give birth at home, with the new dad as the delivering "DR"!! Eventually the paramedics were able to get to them, and mom and baby were both fine. So that is my story of the "BLIZZARD OF '78", although I wasn't old enough to enjoy it, I have heard stories for 25 years!!!
I was a student at Ball State University during that blizzard. It is the only time I was there where the University actually shut down. The surrounding K-12 schools would close due to weather but not BSU; they were always open. That is until this blizzard. Of course we couldn't go anywhere or do anything much but we had fun none the less.
During the Blizard of 1978, I was 8 years old, in second grade. I had two brothers, ages 3 and 4. We were living about 2 miles south of Winchester, Indiana just off of US 27 on a gravel, country road.Things I remember about the storm... We were off of school for about 4 weeks, and we didn't
have to make up the time back then. I remember sitting in front of the radio each evening to see if we would have school the next day.We lived in a two-story home and the drifts were up to
my upstairs bedroom window. My parents had to talk me out of dragging my sled upstairs!
My father had a heavy-duty riding tractor/mower with a snowplow attachment that could normally plow our long driveway in a few minutes. However, after this storm, it took three days to dig our way out of our side door so that we could get even get in and out of the house! Our mower was virtually useless!!
About the second week, a lady down the road went into labor. Since our country road hadn't seen a snowplow yet, my father met the ambulance crew at the intersection with the highway and drove them on his riding tractor the 5-6 miles to the woman's home. Keep in mind that this was before cable TV and video games!! I don't know how my parents made it through the first several days being trapped inside with three children! I'm not sure if there's a correlation or not, but we
moved into town that summer!
I was a freshman at North Montgomery High School the winter of 1978. My family lived just off the Montgomery Co./Boone Co. line. My father worked for the Chessie System Rail Road and dispatched out of the south side of downtown Indianapolis. He had made the commute for many
years, but this one proved to be much different. On the way home he became stuck in the snow within walking distance of a snowmobile dealership. He made it home no less, by snow! That was the beginning of our winter of fun. With the snowmobile, my father purchase a dog sled style pull
behind. Several kids from the area would fit on board and one standing on the back like the "sled driver". Our sled was called upon one cold evening to help aide a family that couldn't get out. They needed oxygen and other medical supplies. The sled was used numerous times to help
the community that year. One favorite memory was of our School bus ride. My bus driver was
Bill Dale. A wonderful man, he was my driver for 8 years. When the roads were finally plowed out, the leftover snow was piled as high or higher than the bus its self, leaving only one lane. Mr. Dale came up the Boone county road as he always had each morning, but this time the
Western Boone bus was behind schedule. The buses met face to face. There was a stand off. Neither driver wanted to "back up" for 1/2 a mile in snow as tall as the bus. Ol' Bill stood his ground. We all watched in anticipation as the Boone County bus backed up and hit the snow, pulled forward, backed up and hit some more snow, until a half hour had passed. we were late that day, but Bill wasn't as stressed out as that other driver!
From Mary Margaret Bell-Libka
We lived on a court in the Northeast suburbs of Indianapolis. I was almost sixteen years old, and a sophomore at Brebeuf. I can remember being up all night watching Sherlock Holmes movies, wondering what that logo stuck to the bottom of our TV screen was??? (It said "Blizzard Warning". It was the first time the local stations used this method in their weather warning systems.)Later when the snow stopped, I remember my father, and the four other men who lived in our court, meeting in the center of it, all pulling sleds. They were going to walk together to the grocery store for their families. (It was a good walk - from 71st and Allisonville, to 71st and Graham Road.)There are other images too, that I remember very well: the way the snow piled up around the front door... the creative way we had to put our dog outside during the height of the storm, (our dog was really confused!)..., the way Mayor Hudnut looked in his knit "Indianapolis Racers" cap! (This was one tired mayor!) Thanks for letting me look back! I can't believe it has been almost twenty-five years! They are really happy memories - especially of my late father!
-Michele Kuehr Allgier
I was 18 years old and worked at a Nursing Home on the East Side of Indianapolis. The "night" of the blizzard, I made it home in a record 3 hours (usually a 20 minute trip, if I had to stop at every stop light) - The next day, the nursing home sent a volunteer in a 4 wheel drive vehicle to pick me up and bring me back to the nursing home and I spent the next 4 and 1/2 days at the nursing home. The nursing home was a 3 story facility across from Community Hospital East and there were approximately 200 patients at that time, there were only about 10 nurses and nurses aides who could or would make the trip into work. We moved as many patients as we could into large rooms so it would be easier to care for them. Of course none of the kitchen staff or cleaning staff made it in, so we had to clean and cook during this 4 1/2 days. The administrator of the facility managed to get into work and she brought her husband and son and together we managed to cook and serve 3 HOT meals every day and keep everyone happy and safe but it truly was one of the longest 4 1/2 days of my life. I remember at that time my hourly salary was approximately $2.50, and we of course got paid at a rate of 8 hours straight time and then 8 hours overtime ($5.00 and hour) for the full 4 1/2 days, once I finally could get home I slept a few hours then managed to work my remaining shifts and a few for others who still could not get out. I remember bringing that check home and it being over a $1,000.00 after taxes, at 18 in 1978 you would have thought I hit the POWERBALL. It was an amazing experience, a lot of our patients wanted to go out and play in the snow, but it was so DEEP we could not risk anyone getting hurt, so we (the nurses aides) went out and built a snowman and had a snowball fight while some of our mobile patients watched from the windows. I remember later in that year (summer) I bought a t-shirt that said "I survived the Blizzard of '78" and I wore it PROUDLY. I can't believe it has been 25 years since the BLIZZARD or since I graduated from High School!!!
I remember the Blizzard of 1978. We were stuck in rural East Central Indiana and I developed a case of the chicken pox. I developed the pox and was over them by the time we could get out of the house. That seemed unfair since you are suppose to miss some school with when you have the chicken pox. My grandparents lived deeper in the country and my family and I. But,
they still somehow got out and visited us. That was really cool!! I also remember that we ran out of bread. Either that, or, we ran low on bread. Anyway, my mom made some wonderfully delicious homemade bread that didn't last very long once she took it out of the oven. Boy, that homemade
bread was really good with butter melting on a fresh hot piece. I can still smell the bread baking ..mmm!!! My family put together all the jigsaw puzzles in the house. We also played
more games of Aggravation, Uno, etc. than I care to remember!! My mom and sister rolled more sixes on the die in Aggravation. I could even get one man out and headed toward home. Ugh!!
Well, those are my few memories. I can't believe that was 25 years ago...I
was almost 9 years old. I guess time does fly when you are having fun!!
The Blizzard of 78. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a senior at Greencastle High School. Snow, snow, and more snow. It came in record blizzard proportions that winter and covered Greencastle with more than 3 feet of that white stuff. But it wasn t just the snow, it was the wind. Drifts closed many roads in the area. I remember finally getting out to attend a swim meet in Crawfordsville, and seeing the snow piled high above the busses as we traveled up 231. My boyfriend, then, was working for the State Highway Department. He was at my house the night the snow came. As a matter of fact, he was snowed in at my house for 4 days! Oh, he did call work and tell them he could not make it in. Funny part is, we were only 3 blocks from where a snowplow could have picked him up! Guess he just wanted to stay with me! As a matter of fact, he has stayed with me ever since. He even got a few brownie points after that blizzard had past, when he helped shovel my dad s car out of 3 feet of snow, so my dad could go to the grocery store. So, I guess the Blizzard of 78 wasn t such a bad time& & ..for me!
Living the dorm life at Indiana University Bloomington at the time meant I was mostly able to get around campus with out using a car. However, being from South Bend, a car on campus was very useful to get back home, or to get around on the weekend. Living in the Wilkie residence halls meant I could part my car on the street next to a retaining wall made of Indiana limestone. That's where my car was when the Blizzard of '78 hit. What a storm! It was snowing so hard and so long that you couldn't see the nose on your face! The flakes were large and the wind was blowing them Yes, I certainly do remember the blizzard. I was living in an apartment
horizontally. Finally, after three days, it was over. I had worked long and hard the previous summer to earn enough money for the coming school year and made enough to buy a late model Ford
Thunderbird. Even though I knew that the car was safely parked on the street, I was concerned about it and wanted to go check on it. I needed to start it up and as it was well known that the battery didn't like the cold weather one bit. After taking a some time to get my snow gear on, a pair of classic LLBean boots that I still have, an army surplus coat, gloves and a stocking hat, that point in time came to brave the elements and check on the car. After figuring out how to get outside, as it had snowed so much you didn't know if you'd be able to open the door. I went in what you would
think would be the right direction. It may sound silly to say that, but everything was covered with snow and totally white. The air was very still and the snow was muffling any noise that there was and so it was eerily soundless outside. It became guesswork as to where the car was as the street
was covered with so much snow you could not tell exactly where it anything was, even a car! Later, the snow plows began getting down to business. This meant moving the snow out of the way by pushing it to the side of the road. That's right where the car was! Soon enough I found the car and was able to get it started by getting in the passenger door. All the cars in front and behind mine were locked in place as all the snow the plows had thrown and pushed up on the cars had turn into hard ice and it was think and substaintial in mass. In fact it took over a month to be able to get out of that parking place and only then after considerable effort and help from my friends. After several failed attempts, we were finally able to shovel and "Rock" that baby free after over an hour of trying. Getting that car up and over the snow ruts it was stuck in was like watching George Clooney's boat over come the huge title waves it was battling in the motion picture "The
Perfect Storm". Trying to push and pull the car and then gun the engine in order to get out of there was like trying to ride a rhino in order to move it through a maize of animal handling chambers.
There was allot of snow around there, so much so that even though the snow plows got everything under control, the streets were covered with snow for some time. When it was over, and the car was up and out, the last eerie element of the storm was finally observed, as there on the side of the
street was four small patches of the bare street exposed. All of that snow all over the place, but not everywhere as the car had prevented four small patches of street under the tires from getting any snow on them. Yep, there ere all dry and clean and about 4 inches under the level of the street. Yep it may not have been a "Perfect Storm" but it was quite a wild
- Jim Lamb
complex near the airport, between I-70 and the Airport Expressway. I had
been walking around the parking lot that Wednesday evening, saw a few flakes
starting to fall, and figured that the weatherman's prediction of heavy snow
was another Chicken Little situation. So you can imagine my surprise the
following morning when a co-worker of mine at the State Office Building
(Rest Area Design Section of what was then the Indiana State Highway
Commission) called me before my alarm went off, telling me to look out the
window. Of course, I could see nothing but white where there had been a
parking lot full of cars the evening before. My little Ford Fiesta was
buried up to the roofline in drifting snow, w/ only the slender radio
antenna giving me some idea of where it was located.
When I finally arose, I got phone calls from some of my friends at the
apartment complex, w/ the idea of gathering our group together to party and
dig out cars. We certainly weren't going anywhere. Especially when WIBC
reported that the Marion County Sheriff announced that anybody out on the
roads not involved in a bona fide "mission of mercy" would be arrested. So
our group, made up of about a dozen 20-somethings, took inventory of our
stocks of beer, wine, and junk food, and decided that being cooped up wasn't
going to be all that bad.
And so began a four-day long traveling party throughout the apartment
complex. We'd settle into someone's apartment for a few hours, eating,
drinking, and watching TV, then move outside to dig out someone's car.
After we got one or two cars excavated, we'd move back inside to a different
apartment to rest, drink, and warm up. Eventually, we dug out all the cars,
and the beer/wine/junk food supply held out through Sunday evening, when we
realized that we'd have to venture out on Monday morning and go back to
I was on the phone w/ my family down here in Cincinnati several times during
the weekend, and they didn't believe how bad it was in Indianapolis....at
least until I showed them later the pictures I had taken.
I moved back home to Cincinnati in June of 1980, and have remained here ever
since. Some of the old timers I work with at City Hall have their own
stories to tell about how they dealt w/ that blizzard down here. These
conversations usually evolve into a "can you top this?" situation, and I
always win w/ my Indianapolis versions of the blizzard.
City of Cincinnati
I had to install a battery cable in my car one afternoon during the blizard of ' 78. I was dressed very warm, head to toe. At that time I lived in Terre Haute. I had an office job and could not make it to work as I had very little gas in my car. I had to walk to the gas station to buy gas and carry the "gas container" back. A fellow employee called in sick during this blizzard of ' 78 and was paid for it. I just called in due to very little gas and did not get paid. I was honest at least.
My mother and step dad were vacationing in Florida - "the winter" thing, during this time.
Yes, I certainly do remember the blizzard. I was living in an apartment
Our Son, Eric was born the morning of January 25th 1978. After having been at the hospital all day and night on the 24th I went home exhausted and woke on the 26th to be snowed in, my wife and new baby son was stranded at Community Hospital (east). It took me and the neighbors till the next day to dig our way out. I was able to go bring my wife and baby home on the 27th. I was just thankful we were already there safe at the hospital and that we made it home safe.
At the time I was growing up in Crawfordsville in Montgomery County and was about 11 years old. I remember vividly waking up the first morning expecting to go to school and upon seeing how much snow had actually fell and watching Bob Gregory on Channel 13 WTHR I learned our school was closed (and would be for quite a while, a week or better as I remember). The blizzard created hardships for Montgomery Counties Emergency Response Personnel as I recall, they had to use snowmobiles to run food, emergency medicine, and clothing, etc to stranded sick and elderly people in the countryside and had a heck of a time with communications staying up along with the usual just trying to keep main arteries clear for driving on. What really sticks out in my mind about the blizzard was playing out in the yard in the snow with my sisters and our families dogs, we burrowed under the snow and created tunnels and played in them untill our parents were worried about them collapsing on top of us and suffocating us put a stop to it, then we turned to watering down our driveway which ran downhill. We then took my dads flat snow shovel and waxed the bottom of it and used it as an ad hoc sled(as we did not have a regular one) and our tobogan and we slid down the hill till our fingertips and lips were blue, we had a blast. I do remember seeing our local newspaper, The Journal Review that published photos from the Blizzard and one picture in particular stuck out in my mind was that of a semi truck driver whose rig had been stranded out by Interstate 74 in a snow drift and he stood on top of the rig, on his tip toes with his fingers outstretched and still could not reach the top of the snow drift, that really impressed me and I will never forget that as long as I live.
Staff Sergeant Richard D. Groves, USMCR
Field Radio Chief
Joint Task Force-Civil Support (J-6 Directorate),
United States Northern Command
During the Blizzard of 1978, I was three years old. I lived in Versailles, Indiana. My mom and I were snowed in our house for three days. My dad was stranded at Cummins Engine in Columbus. We stayed in our living room by the fireplace and closed the pocket doors to the rest of the house. The snow blew into our front door and into our breezeway. My mom said there was so much snow in the breezeway she had to shovel it out to get to the firewood. I remember my uncle coming to pick us up, after the National Guard came through Versailles and cleaned US 421, he drove us over the snow drifts in their Yellow Volkswagon to their house to see my cousin who was a month old at the time.
Heather McAlister, Indianapolis
In '78 I had a small route delivering the indianapolis star. My father was teaching me not to give up, so I delivered to my entire route. It was cold but fun. I was able to walk up over fences on the packed snow and in one case walk right up to the roof of one house and to the roof the next. Usually my tips for timely delivery were 15 dollars, This particular set of weeks my tips ranged upwards of 70 dollars during the blizzard.
We were stuck at home for four days. My Dad got stuck in the street and when my Mom and I tried to push him out she fell and severely sprained her ankle. We had to call a city plow to come get her and take her to the hospital. I still remember my Dad trying to get her up in the truck. He is only 5' 2". She turned out to be fine but it was an incident that I will never forget.
I was only 9 at the time, but remember it VERY well! We lived the small town of Bainbridge and an Amtrak train derailed and got stuck in the HUGE snowdrifts near the town. All of the people onboard needed places to stay....so many people & churches in town took them in for a few days. We live near a church where some people stayed and I remember people coming in at all hours to take showers and use the restroom. We had the oldest couple onboard stay in our home----and we adored them. We kept in touch with them & their family for many years until they passed away. It was an experience that made us realize what helping each other is all about!
Sincerely, Michelle Kiger
I was a senior at John Marshall High School and my sister and I took our sled to the A&P grocery at 38th and Mitthoeffer to get some groceries. When we got there, we saw some friends from school there and they were also getting groceries on their sled. It was really strange because there
weren't any motorized vehicles on the road...only people with skis and snowmobiles.
The snow in our yard had drifted over 6 feet tall near the garage.
J.D. Byrider Systems, Inc.
I was just a kid and so was my husband. I just pulled out his childhood T-shirt...it reads "I survived the Blizzard of 1978". He still can't believe he was small enough to wear that shirt!
We built igloos out of the snow and had snowball fights.
Steve and Deana Applegate