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I Survived the Great Boston Blizzard of 1978

When I was watching the news today, I heard about a super storm that was about to hit the Northeast, and they said it was going to be bigger than the Blizzard that hit Boston, back in 1978.

Hey! I lived through that Blizzard in Boston! I knew I had photos somewhere so I went and dug them up.

This story hails back to my Boston Years (Part 1) days, when my hometown friend Kathy Casey and I shared an apartment at 400 Marlborough Street. At the time I was a Dance Major at Boston Conservatory of Music and Kathy was at Emmanuel College.

We ventured out into the city, on several different days, during the Blizzard. We hit the Boston Commons, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the streets and alleys around our neighborhood. I read through my diary and it says we lost power the first day, but we lived in this small basement apartment, and it was really well insulated, so we didn’t feel the cold that much. Diary says that friends came to stay with us during the Blizzard because our apartment was warmer than theirs.

We had a small Grocery Store on the corner of Mass Ave. and Marlborough Street called The Marlborough Market (natch). I remember waiting in line, to get into the store, a day or two after the Blizzard had subsided, and there wasn’t anything to buy.

Boston Blizzard of 1978It didn’t seem to bother us much because we were young and national disasters just didn’t alarm us. We didn’t prepare for anything and it seemed that the cocktails just kept flowing no matter what the situation was (as is evidenced by Kathy with her cigarette and beer on top of the snowhill that is higher than a car!)

I have a funnier story than this one that unfortunately doesn’t have any photos to accompany it.

Kathy and I had just moved to Boston in August. We both had grown up in the suburbs of Chicago and this was Kathy’s first time living away from home. I had already lived on a college campus in Colorado, so needless to say, moving to Boston was moving to the “Big City” for both of us. We didn’t know what to expect living in a city, but I remember as part of our “security measures” for city living, we both had whistles, that we could wear around our necks, that we had received while being in a Senior Leader program in High School. So, that was our planned “protection” while living on the mean streets of Boston.

A couple of weeks after moving to Boston (and months before the Blizzard hit), Boston had a complete black out. We had no idea what was going on. Our lights went out, we lived in a basement apartment, so we thought someone was coming in to kill us. We tried looking out our one street level window but we couldn’t see anything. We decided to be brave and venture out into the street, to see what we could find out.

Along with the whistles we both had around our necks, Kathy suggested we also take large kitchen cutting knives with us for protection! So, picture this…two girls, in their late teens, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt with a whistle around their necks, and each carrying an 8″ knife in her hands!

We hit the street, ready for action, knives raised against our would-be attackers.

We quickly found out there was nothing to be afraid of. The entire city was blacked out and hundreds of people were coming out of their apartments, so it almost became like a street party. That is, until some poor soul came upon us, on darkened Marlborough Street, and saw our 8″ long knives, glistening in the moonlight! A loud “Jesus Christ” came out of his mouth and he ran off as fast as he could, to get away from those two chicks with the blades!

We decided to walk down to Mass Ave and use the pay phones to call home. I remember family and boyfriends being very concerned for our well being, but by then we were seasoned pros, living in the city! It was hard hiding those damn knives though, while we made our phone calls, and I’m happy to say that neither the knives (or the whistles) ever had to be brought out again.

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