Thursday, February 07, 2008

‘Ever Get Stranded In A Blizzard?

I did! The Blizzard of ’78 has turned into somewhat of an urban myth at my high school. You see I went to Sacred Heart Academy, a small all-girls Catholic high school in Hamden, CT. That day, Vicky, Elisa and I schlepped down the hill in our uniform skirts, our arms piled high with textbooks, the icy wind whipping past us, determined to get on the city bus that would take us home. We never made it. Instead, we were stuck with several other people at the diner located on the same corner as the bus stop. No one went anywhere all day including the busses.

While stranded, we helped a man who spoke only Spanish, called Vicky’s brother in vain since he was the one who had four-wheel-drive, and kept in constant contact with the convent up the hill.

After about four hours, Mr. Cusano, the school’s handyman and owner of a snowplow, made it down the hill to pick us up. We were devastated! We were going back to school to wait out the blizzard! Little did we know that many of our classmates were stuck in less comfortable places such as shelters and public buildings. Everyone was stranded included the poor man at the diner who spoke only Spanish.

In actuality, we were lucky. The sisters set up camp for us in the school library, wheeled in a television, and cooked us some great meals! Those apple dumplings were to die for! The three our families knew each other, too, so we did not mind who picked us up or to which house we went. We were all voracious readers and found ourselves stuck in a library of all places. We read, laughed a lot, and ate like little piggies. The only part we did not like was when the nuns made us clean the cafeteria in payment for their hospitality. I am sure we did not do as great a job as they would have, but we made a half-hearted attempt to please our captors. This is how we thought of them, but they were very nice hosts.

After two days, Vicky’s brother finally made it to the school and rescued us. He even drove Elisa and me all the way home. When we arrived at my house, I was overjoyed. The piles of snow were still high enough to play in and would remain so during our weeklong unexpected vacation.

In later years, my mother would meet a graduate of Sacred Heart while working at the phone company. The woman gasped when she discovered that the three girls really existed.

“We thought that was just a myth!” she exclaimed.

It is no myth, Girlfriend. I am here thirty-five years later still thinking about those dumplings.

Happy Anniversary Vicky and Elisa!

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