As a child I remember winter meant lots of snow, but the blizzard of 1952 was the really big one!

The clouds hung low in the sky; they seemed to be sitting just above the trees waiting. Blue jays and chickadees were filling their bellies preparing for a long cold spell.

Shortly after noon a few flakes began to fall then more and more fell not lazily floating down from heaven to earth but slanted as though they came from clouds far away .Soon a thin blanket of white hung outside the windows hiding the road from our view.

Our house stood in the middle and to the left of a mile long valley surrounded by dark mountains and small bluffs. Mount Blue stood majestically in the distance. The valley created a deep bowl trapping the wind driven snow that leaped over the mountains and deposited its load of white crystals on its blustery way to Wilton. The snow stayed in the valley and was blown about by the fierce winds into huge drifts that piled to alarming heights.

Our home was called a bungalow it nestled low to the ground under an octagon shaped roof. It sat modestly behind a large sloping front lawn; a long driveway ran along the east side of the oblong shaped parcel of land. The windows were about two feet from the rock foundation and snow could quickly cover the thin glass blocking out the gray light.

All afternoon the snow fell. As day turned into night the wind began to blow. It whistled around the eaves gently at first, and then it appeared to become angry as if it wanted to blow our house over, all night it tried to get in, it roared through the eaves like a freight train on its way to hell. The windows shivered as they tried to keep the wind on the outside.

We occupied ourselves by listening to the radio, playing board games, our dolls were new, and all in one piece so we played house and even held classes in a pretend school sitting. We used two old desks Mom and dad had gotten somewhere that previous summer and Donna assumed the role of our teacher. She stood at the front of our classroom hands on her hips wearing a stern expression. Rita and I sat side by side on the small seat attached to the deeply gouged desktop. Doug and Hunky shared the other desk. We were instructed to be quiet and do our school work which consisted of a page from a coloring book or a lined piece of paper to write our names. If we dared to speak we were quickly silenced by the sound of a ruler being slammed down on the desk. We soon tired of this harshly controlled game and discovered punching and kicking at each was much more fun until mom shouted “cut that out!”

Dad and Doug kept a path dug out to the woodshed to supply our only source of heat, and tried to keep a path to the out house shoveled. Pee pots were used often in desperate situations. The backyard was somewhat sheltered from the drifting snow by the limbs of a huge elm tree that grew on the banks of Wilson stream. A line of spindly birch and alder trees provided a half hearted wind break for the back of the house. Several large elm trees protected the left side of our cozy home. The north wind blew down the valley and hit the trees as they stood tall bracing against the on slot as if they were taking a deep breath, when they could no longer hold back the angry wind they would bend and surrender to the wind with a haunting whistle as it tore down the valley. We were snug as seven bugs in a rug but completely shut off from the outside world, we didn’t have a telephone we couldn’t leave, and no one could come in.

On the morning of the third day the windows were lighter and I heard dad trying to open the front door, he pushed at the hard packed drift and made a small opening but soon snow fell from the top of the door and spilled onto the linoleum. He slipped and caught himself as he reached for the shovel he had placed nearby. He pushed at the door and tried to shovel snow over the drift, with a lot of grunting, groaning and a few choice swear words he had an opening so he could close the door and step out into the small hole he had dug into the drift.

I don’t know how but, Uncle Woody heard of our dilemma and came down from Dixfield with a shovel in his trunk. He and dad and Doug shoveled for two days until we they reached the road. The freshly dug path was wide enough for dad to drive the car out scraping both sides on his first attempt to reach the outside world.

We were out of school for a whole week, on Monday morning the bus stopped and Mr. Shea our bus driver jumped down the stairs and said “Stay right there I want to take your picture!

The picture showed four tiny children dwarfed by towering snow banks all bundled up against the winter cold. Most of our neighbors had been snowed in also but not for a week as we were.


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