I remember twenty five years ago

 ... it was a thirteen mile walk

by Shirley Rabb

I remember the blizzard of 1978. I was living in Malden, MA. I managed a national health food chain store in Boston. Once the snow started it kept falling for two days. We tried to keep shoveling every few hours to keep up but night came and put a stop to our efforts. By the morning of February 8th twenty seven inches had fallen. The first 24 hours 22 inches of snow came down and winds were up to 79 miles per hour. This was the worst recorded storm in 105 years.

A friend and I dug a path from the door to the street. The cars in the driveway remained covered. Snow to the windows and drifts to the roofs.

I remember the day being calm. All cars except emergency vehicles were banned from the roads.

I was twenty-five years younger than I am now. I was ambitious and I needed to open my store. Boston is 13 miles from where I was living in Malden. With store keys in my zippered pocket and an apple in my hand, I started out.

There were few people walking and those that were waved and moved along on the road. All of us with definite destinations.

I got to Route 1, the main highway leading to the city. I followed the highway past Chelsea, over the Mystic River bridge and into Haymarket Square.

There were no push carts or vendors. No trucks unloading produce. No bartering of the usual crowds. It was still and you could hear the silent voices from Faneuil Hall.

It was 10 a.m. when I climbed over the piles of snow in front of the store. I unlocked the door and went to the back hall for the shovel. It took about one half hour to get a path from the door to the road. Then I was ready to open for business.

During the day I had about 25 customers.

Every one was happy just to be out of their apartments and enjoying the quiet of the usually noisy city. The people were pleasant, actually cheerful. It was amazing that there was no complaining about work lost, back aches from shoveling, or even the lack of electricity for some.

It was one of the most pleasant days I spent at work.

One of my customers was a gentleman with a truck and plow that was doing work in the city. He offered to take me home at 6 p.m.

We left Boston in the semi-darkness and drove out of the city. The main roads were being kept up nicely and without the usual traffic we moved right along.

It was a time to record and remember. My certificate came in the mail a few days later. My boss thought I deserved the acknowledgement for duty above and beyond the call of duty. He did't realize I was having a lot of fun.

March 7, 2003

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