Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Story of Our Blizzard Blanket

The Blizzard Blanket is stored in the very top of my linen closet. I need a ladder to get it down. I'll do that one day soon and post a picture of the blanket that's so much a part of the boy's memory and mine.

The Blizzard Blanket became part of this little family’s history in January, 1978. Even though my mother taught me to crochet at an early age I had never, ever made anything larger than a dishcloth with a crochet hook. I had done lots of knitting and was comfortable with all aspects of the craft. I knew it was a lot easier to rescue ones self from a dropped stitch while crocheting than while knitting. With two young sons and a husband living almost 600 miles away I certainly didn't need a dropped stitch to ruin a perfectly good day.

A friend who lived close to me made a small afghan in granny-squares. She used bright colors to compliment a quilt her grandmother gifted to her. The boys liked it and talked about it over the next week or so. Next frame has me buying yarn as the boys selected a variety of colors. The decision was to frame each block in black was mine. My friend gave me a copy of her pattern and helped me get started. I decided to work the pattern using two strands of yarn. (Otherwise I would have had way too much yarn.) The first stitch was made on the Monday following New Year, 1978.

I found that the squares were easy to make and that I could hold a conversation with the boys, take part in some of their games, and watch meals cook while making the squares. When I had as many squares as the pattern called for I looked at the left over yarn and decided to keep making squares until most of the yarn was worked. That decision resulted in an afghan large enough for a king size bed. I started setting the huge, heavy monster together at the end of January and finished it in the early hours of the 5th day of February.

The 5th day of February, 1978, was a lovely day. Temps were in the high 60s to low 70s. The sun was shining. Children were so excited that they could play outside. My two boys were invited to visit with a friend who lived a few miles away. Because it was very close to the grocery store, I decided to do my shopping two days early. I only shopped once a month and our shelves were getting bare. I filled the trunk of the car and part of the front floorboard with groceries and drove by to pick up the boys.

When I stopped at their friend’s house the boys were ready to go. It was 1:15 and a fairly strong wind had begun to blow but the temps were still steady. The mother of the boy’s friend told me that, while the weather reports didn't say so, we were in for a severe blizzard. I didn't really believe her. You know how it is in the mountains – folk tales rule. No way was she correct.

By 3PM it was 35 degrees, wind was blowing, and snow was swirling! By 6PM the weather reports said we were in for “the storm of the century”. Our dog was in the dog run and I went to leash her and bring her inside. While I was outside I was caught in my first whiteout. I couldn't’t tell up from down but the dog pulled me to the door.

Shift workers were kept at jobs, civil defense declared a total curfew, power and phones were out. My next door neighbor and friend made it to my garage door (her husband was trapped at work) and stayed with me and the boys. We had plenty of food but no heat. Temps dropped to waaaay below zero and the wind howled for three days. We huddled under that afghan for hours at a time with the boys between us to keep them as warm as possible. Thus the Blizzard Blanket was born.

Now you know the rest of the story.

This was called “The Storm of the Century” It lasted from February the 5th to the 7th and covered the whole Northeastern United States.


SOUL: said...

what a story-- and how detailed-- you even remember times and temps! no senility there :))

i'm lucky to remember what time i ate lunch today-- and i do know it was only in the last hour!!!

i love afghans -- not sayin i can spell it :)) --
i have never seen a king sized one, and could never imagine making one in a month. i couldn't make a doily in a month!!

when i lived in florida in 1992..hmmm.. coulda been 93.. see.. my senile!! we had a "storm of the century too... hmmm how odd.. same century... liars!!! :))
hubby was on the ship-- aha! it was 92-- anyhow-- it was just me and sam.. our dog-- no power-- anywhere --except base-- i had a kerosene heater-- but nothin else-- no street lights, no ATMs, no gas pumps-- cash registers-- it was very medieval-- for four days.
and BORING , needless to say.
funny , but nine months later, there was QUITE the baby boom... but-- with hubby on a ship half a world away-- i didn't have the means or the opportunity. :((

anyhow--- good story-- sorry for my ramble.

Mary said...

I think that eary storms of the century are routinely replaced by later storms of the century. In 1993 the northeast had an ice storm that shut down DC for several days. (No real loss there!) I was stuck in a hotel in old town Alexandria for four days and almost went crazy. By the time it was over I wanted to fire my whole team and run screaming around the beltway!

AlabamaGal said...

The blizzard blanket sounds just like the crocheted afghans my Grandmother and Mother use to make, they are cherished, because they were made with love and they are very comforting always, not just to use, but to see.

I love to crochet. It is very rewarding to make projects and fun to give them as gifts.

You remember things so well! I enjoyed hearing your story.


Cheryl said...

What a great story. I remember that storm. I was snowed in at my boyfriend's apartment for days. He was a diehard poker player, and somehow his friends made their way to the apartment. As soon as the road opened, I got a ride out of there. Freedom, finally.

Emily was born in October of 1993, and my ex was out of town for that storm. We lost all power. I hung sheets between the kitchen and family room to keep the heat in and we stayed huddled up for days.

jAMiE said...

What a neat story...amazing that you remember it with such detail...loved it....would love such a special afghan...i need to learn to crochet...i can kind of knit but not really.

simonsays said...

What an awesome story. Really.

I love the idea of a blizzard blanket...and the memories that surround it.

I hope you were good friends with your neighbor, circumstances like that would be awful had you not been good friends. Or maybe you were good friends by the time the blizzard was over?

Have a good day. :)

Caroline said...

I really, really, loved this story.

happyone said...

Wow, that is some story!!
You should publish a pictue of the now famous Blizzard Blanket.
I was living in Puerto Rico at the time of your storm. :-)

Josie Two Shoes said...

I loved this story! And what a great family heirloom that blizzard blanket will be! Can't wait to see a picture, it sounds lovely!