Winter Storm

Letter transcription:

Sunday January 29, 1967

Dear David and Bonnie:

It happened at about 5 am on Friday. We were without lights for 27 hours. Also power to keep our gas furnace running. Dad couldn’t get out of the driveway. We finally managed with the help of Herb Schultz and Harold Oliver to get Mrs. Myers out here. We kept a fire going in the fireplace – and incidentally I didn’t burn all of the things in the corner – and kept half way warm. We made the folding couch into a bed and put Mrs. M. by the fireplace and heaped her with covers and she said she was warm as toast. We kept the fire going until nearly 11 o’clock. The next morning we got up early and started the fire again and the outside temperature was 12. We were able to cook with my old iron chicken fryer in the fireplace and I had stocked up on groceries on Thurs., so we had plenty to eat. I heard the grocery stores ran out of several items – like bread and milk. There were many people stranded in Kentland – all traffic was halted from all directions. All motel and hotel rooms were taken and about 100 people stayed in the gym and as far as I know some are still there. No traffic is allowed to go north, except people like Dad who went to the hospital Saturday and today. The National Guard brought in an auxiliary electric system and food so the gym was warm and food was provided for the stranded. Dottie McClure helped cook. I didn’t ask her who else was on kitchen duty. She told me she had stayed in the gym until 3 am Saturday to help service coffee, etc., to the National Guard and others. Dad says he thinks the guard brought in cots, so there was some provision for places to sleep. Even if there were no cots, at least the people there had warmth. I think probably every fireplace in Kentland was in use with more than one family gathered around. The Janssens have a camper and it is equipped with gas, so they slept in it. John spent the night in Hensley’s house keeping their fireplace going. They have been out of town for the past 3 weeks. Our John called and there was the same situation in Champaign – a breakdown in the electrical system. His house was cold, but he has a gas stove, so he could stay by the range with the oven turned on. He said the grocery store where he buys his supplies has an electric eye door, so he couldn’t get in there. He said he had enough groceries to last a day or so. We haven’t talked to him since Friday. During the time the electricity was off here, telephoning was limited to emergency calls. One other thing so when the electric power was off and the water tower was emptied, that was it. We had been told to prepare, so we had a few containers of water – so we could flush the toilet if the water did run out. I got up at 2:30 and looked to see if Mrs. M. was asleep – she was – and I put some more covers on her – and then I tried to get a drink – no water. We set up a card table by the fireplace and with three chairs in a semicircle kept fairly cozy during the emergency. It was awfully cold going to the bathroom. We thought we wouldn’t care to go back to the “good old days” before modern conveniences. I didn’t try to go to church this morning. Dad said there were paths through the town, but no place to park. The temperature has risen, but not above freezing since the storm hit. The sun did shine yesterday, but today we had more snow. Our TV aerial bent over so all we can get is Champaign. We have listened to the radio – WGN – and had heard this is the worst storm of the century. The expressways in Chicago are still jammed with stalled cars and trucks. People just have not been able to get their cars away from where they had to stop during the storm. O’Hare has been out of business for several days. The word was flights might be resumed today, but nothing definite. We had been told that the electrical repair job might be temporary, so we have kept Mrs. M. two nights and she is staying again tonight. Something happened to her apartment and it was (the furnace) cold until late this afternoon. Dad said he thought she had better just spend another night here to be sure the heating system is fixed properly. I have made the prediction that the town of Kentland will acquire an auxiliary system to take care of pumping water into the town tank in case of such another electrical failure.

I am planning to go to Lafayette again Friday and see a house for rent. We were called about it – the agent called us Thurs. We had just about decided to get a small apt., as we told you, but if this house is suitable, we probably will take it. Dr. Hensley is coming Thursday to talk business and possibly sign contract. He has been released from his contract at I.S. and will be here to take over the office Mar. 1. He also plans to come on Feb. 28 to be here a day or so before Dad leaves. Everyone here who has said anything about the change say they hate to lose us, but don’t blame Dad. They think it is time for hime to take it easy. Many of Dad’s patients say they are going to stay with Dr. H. Several of the OB have told Dad they are going to stay. I think Dr. H. knows he is getting a good thing. Dad told him if he would sit back and let the girls run the office they would make a living for him. It isn’t

[page 2] quite that simple, but I think he knows they will be a great help to him.

Love Mother

P.S. I will get your pills & spansules mailed next week – that is tomorrow – if I can get out of our driveway. I thought you might want the tax receipts. We saved some of the things you had in the corner – but did burn quite a bit. By the way, you had some of “my” books stored in there. That package from bookshelf was a bible dictionary and was sent to you so you could take advantage of the low price. I think I will just keep it for a while to see what they do next. I may write and tell them to send me postage if they want it back.

©2017 copyright owned and transcribed by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found:

3 thoughts on “Winter Storm

  1. davidmadison1942

    Yes, wow, that was quite a storm–and I like all the details that she provides.

    “He has been released from his contract at I.S.” should read “I.U.”

    “We saved some of the things you had in the corner – but did burn quite a bit.” I remember wincing when I found out that “my stuff” had been burned. One lady in Kentland had saved many newspaper front covers from WWII. When her son returned from the war, he wanted to forget it all–so he wasn’t interested. So she gave them to me…and they were lost as my folks were clearing out the house.

  2. Gail Grunst Genealogy

    I remember that snow storm. I was stuck at work and had to spend the night with a coworker who lived nearby. My father drove a truck and was stuck in Chicago. We finally were able to get home two days later.


Tell Me What You Think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s