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N is for Nor’Easter

During these dog days of summer, I feel it necessary to remind you of what we have to look forward to in just a few short months. Remember this?

Yeah. That’s a picture of our house from a Nor’Easter that hit in December of 2003. It dumped over 2 feet of snow on us. You know what a Nor’Easter is, right? It’s basically a blizzard and it’s a particularly nasty type of snowstorm we mostly get here in the North East. Lots of wind, piles and piles of snow, power outages, and days off from school.

I have great memories of the Blizzard of ’78, one of the most powerful blizzards in my area. The storm took everyone by surprise. I was actually at school that day and they let us out early because it started snowing so furiously. And it just kept snowing – for 32 hours. People were stranded trying to get home from work. Snow plows were unable to pass on the roads. I remember when we finally got the driveway shoveled and we had to literally step up two feet to walk onto the road. I also remember walking to the grocery story with my parents, pulling a sled to haul the groceries home. People were friendly and helpful and it was a really pleasant time once everyone was safe.

And we have the fabled Blizzard of ’78 to thank for the present state of panic that everyone feels around here once the least little storm is predicted. It’s been nearly thirty years and grocery stores still run out of bread and milk right before a snowstorm! Frankly, I have never understood the urgent need for bread and milk when a snowstorm is predicted. Me, I buy cookies and potato chips and booze. But, whatever. To each his own and all that.


You won’t hear me complaining about the heat. Especially after looking at these photos and remembering just how cold and miserable it can here when a Nor’Easter hits.

This Post Has 51 Comments

  1. We were living in Oswego, NY during the Blizzard of ’78, just a block from Lake Ontario and got 84″ of snow over 3 days. I grew up in Maine but I had never seen anything like that!
    A fun post during this heat wave.

  2. I love the spin you put on things: cookies, chips and booze instead of bread and milk. I was living in MD that year so missed that one, but Dad had some stories. He was one of the few doctors in his area who had a vehicle capable of handling the early clean up process. So he had to go fetch the other docs and even some patients.

  3. heehee! but you can’t beat the anticipation of a big snow storm. All my life it’s been something fun… thank goodness.

    When I was a kid we lived in the black hills of South Dakota and once we had a blizzard so bad that my Dad had to cross country ski to the grocery store! That same storm he was shoveling our sidewalk and kept telling me to stay on the porch because the snow was too deep. Did I listen? No. I fell off the porch head first in to the snow that was six feet deep! He got me out right away of course, boy was I in trouble! Heehee!

    Sorry to babble… you got me going!

  4. I can’t help but look at the snow and say WHAT!? That’s nothing. You’ve hardly covered the ground. You do have the right idea about what to buy before a storm, however;-)

  5. I was in college in Ohio during the Blizzard of ’78, so I missed the whole thing. My parents were on vacation in Hawaii, and the poor dears were trapped there for several extra days. You’re right about the run on groceries, though. Funny, I never associated it with ’78 before, but you’re right, most forecasters predicted just a couple of inches.

  6. Oh, that cracks me up, because I’ve often wondered the same thing: What’s with the bread and milk? heh-heh-heh. I still reserve the right to complain about the heat, though.

  7. I was a freshman in college in Ithaca, NY during the Blizzard of ’78- having been raised in souhern Europe I had never seen so much snow.

    Like Stephanie says, “choose a season and hate it more”. I still choose to hate winter more despite the blistering heat.

  8. Your house is so freakin cute!!
    I refuse to complain about the heat either, I’ll take this heat over a Nor’easter any day!

    Oh… don’t be surprised if I show up on your doorstep the next snow storm that is predicted. I mean how could I not when I know there is an ample supply of cookies, chips and booze 🙂

  9. I like the big snowstorms, as long as I’m home. Hated being trapped in Denver in February while snow raged here. And I so hate the heat.

    The other thing the local stores sell out of is bottled water. You would think people would be bathing in the stuff.

  10. Gee, I remember my first one, although a Southern version. I lived 60 miles from the coast of GA and the Jacksonville, FL, weathermen were forecasting a Noreaster. What is that? I wondered. Then the wind started blowi and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in a matter of minutes. (I remember, however, the time Jax got 10 inches of snow. My father was upset that he didn’t get his Florida Times-Union.)

  11. As much as I dislike winter, I found myself longing for it yesterday. Just looking at your photos makes me feel cooler. I would happily erase the 03 storm from my mind though – 6month old child, husband in ICU (not storm related, he just has great timing) and 3 feet of snow where we were. Nightmare.

  12. Oh I remember the storm of ’78. I was living in my first apartment and had to fight to get the front door open and walked to work (about 4 miles) only to find out the restaraunt was closed (duh)!

    I NEVER, EVER, EVER complain about the heat – bring it on! We get so little of it around here!

  13. OH thank you for the reminder! I HATE bundling up, cold toes, damp pant cuffs, shoveling, stuffy noses, freezing winds. I can’t complain about the heat when we get to wear sandals, smell the ocean breeze, watch little birds hatching (on my porch), and take the tops off our jeeps!

  14. Oh Boy that was fun! No school for nearly a month in Waltham! Not fun for the adults but oh yeah for all us kids.. e went sledding of the roof out my bedroom window….heehee looking at your pictures is cooling me off! Thank you! Another humid one today!

  15. The funny thing? I was living there for BOTH of those storms. I was in VT for the 78′ one and NH for the 2003 one.

    Me no likey snow!

    Did you get that e-mail with the picture??

  16. Carol, you are someone who definitely has her priorities straight, and no qualms about it. You do cookies and potato chips, we do popcorn and frappes, and all day games of risk or scrabble. Good times!

  17. Boy are you right! All it took was seeing that first picture for me to not be so annoyed with this heat wave! I’ll take melted makeup and a sauna like car over shoveling out at 6am ANY DAY!!

  18. Ooh I feel cooler already. I love the snow and I hate hate hate the heat. Thanks for the pictures!

    Of course hearing about your provisions for snowstorms can I come hang out with you for the next one;)

  19. That snow is so beautiful. I think I’m going to blow up that picture of your house and hang in front of all my windows as a remider that there are places in the world with seasons. It will also help me think cool thoughts!

  20. Ahhh the snow. I just love it. In ’78 I was a kid on Lawn Guyland. I remember sitting in school watching the snow fall and the teachers would repeat over and over – like a mantra – the bus’s can still get through. As long as the bus’s could get through school would stay open.

    Now I live in Virginia and they close the schools if the weather report even mentions snow. Just say the magic word and schools close and the stores are emptied of milk and bread. I’m with you – I’ll leave the milk and go for chocolate, alcohol and tomato soup. Not all together though. 😉

  21. I’m one of those people who loves the snow and prefers winter… as my DD says, you can always put on more clothes or stay next to the woodstove when it’s cold, but there isn’t much you can do when it’s way too hot! I’m with you on stocking up on cookies and beer… who wants to run out of the essentials during a blizzard?!

  22. I was in Chicago during the blizzard of 78. We have a picture of my brother (who was 2 at the time) sitting atop a snow drift and he was taller than the street light.

  23. Great photos. I can’t miss winter, but then again I don’t have the heat you have. And rarely do we get that much snow. But the wind … the wind is just brutal around here in the winter. It always makes me feel bad for Travis – working outside in it every day.

  24. I’m with you on the cookies chips and booze. Hey, the power might go out, you need to have lots of ‘insta-food’ on hand. I love ‘Noreasters. I love winter. Yes, I’m one of the few who look forward to the wicked winter weather and miss Shelby Scott’s storm updates.

  25. Bread and milk always seemed weird to me. My mom and I used to disregard the possibility of a power outage and buy lots of frozen dinners, cookie dough (which is better raw anyway), and soup. Those were the best times.

  26. I love Nor’Easters – the way the snow comes down, the wind, the whole thing! And ’78 – my favorite memory of that storm was that my mum tied my sister onto the front porch of the house (she was 3 at the time) so she wouldn’t wander off and get lost in a snowdrift.

  27. Ah the Blizzard of 78. I was 6 and living in northern Indiana – even at that age I can remember being snowbound and then having to tunnel up and above the snow piled at the door to get outside when it stopped coming down! I don’t miss the snow 🙂

  28. When it snows we buy ice cream. When we lived in Somerville we’d walk to the nearest convenience store, make snow angels on the way, and giggle uncontrollably with our ice cream loot on the way back.

  29. We were in Newport, RI that winter! It was my very first snow and the worst RI had in over 100 years. I went out and played with all the kids on our street making snowballs and a snowman while Bill laughed at me. Quite an quite an introduction to real winters for a Fort Worth girl.

  30. It was a bit of a shock to see snow pictures! 🙂 We have the Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991 to talk about here – I was in college, and we took our little sled to Dinkytown (the area by the U of MN) and stocked up on booze, movies, and salty snacks.

  31. The blizzard of ’78 closed Michigan State Univeristy for the first time in its history. It was midterms. We were all up at 6 a.m. dancing in the dorm halls. The drifts were so deep, some kids jumped out of 2nd story windows, safely. Others, not so safe. Students were rolling kegs down the middle of the town’s main thoroughway. BAck then, the drinking age was 18 and we could drink in the dorms. Let’s just say we didn’t take full advantage of the three extra days to study.

    I love the change of seasons. Wouldn’t trade it. All our big snow is blamed on lake effect.

  32. I was due during the blizzard of ’78. My dad apparently spent the whole storm madly shoveling even as the snow came down in case my mom went into labor. I don’t know why he thought that would do any good — the streets were apparently totally unplowed. Basically it was making it possible for my mom to have me in the car at the end of the driveway.

    Fortunately I was three weeks late. My mom was grateful for this at first. Probably not so much by the end of the three weeks.

    I do love the bread and milk thing. Especially the milk, which will be the first thing you dump out when the fridge (and everything else) loses power. Crazy New Englanders.

  33. You ought to see the panic in Dallas when an ice storm is predicted. We don’t get them every year, and mostly they are an inch of ice and then it melts the next day, but every now and then we get a doozy. Coincidentally, 1978 was the year we had something like 7 inches of ice on New Year’s Eve. We lost power for a week and had to go to my grandparents’ house in Oak Cliff because they had gas heat.

  34. My daughter has a theory about “the bread, milk, eggs” purchase. I said unless everyone is making french toast, I too, don’t get it. I purchase like you. But anyway, she calls it “The Supermarket Conspiracy”. A storm is threatened so the supermarkets can clear the shelves of all their older merchandise and replace with newer, better exp. date items. It does make sense in a weird sort of way because the shelves are stripped clean of everything but cleaning products. What does that say about us when we have the potential of being trapped for a time….I have to snicker. I break out the blender, salsa and chips!!

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