Friday, April 25, 2008

1956 Thanksgiving snowstorm

No matter how many snowstorms Erie has had over the years, none of them seem to measure up to the 1956 Thanksgiving storm. I remember that on Thanksgiving morning we started to notice the surprise snowstorm outside. The Wednesday newspaper had said that 'Erie was due for flurries, rain and snow squalls, and a wet Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving Day's paper said that 'High winds and low temperature under an overcast sky promised dismal conditions for those who venture outside'. I really don't remember too much about that Thanksgiving, except that we seemed cozy in the house and there was a snowstorm outside.

By sometime Friday, after 36 hours of snowing, there was two feet of snow on the ground. The mayor declared a state of emergency and called out the Pennsylvania National Guard Army, which was across the street from our house. Many of the Army trucks and a couple of the tanks were put into use for emergencies around the city, and to make paths through the streets. I remember that evening there was a knock at the door. It was Johnny! Boy were we surprised, as he lived up on Charlotte Street. It seems like he said that he hitched a ride on one of the Army vehicles. Anyway, after a short visit he left. I thought at the time, boy what an adventure and wished I could go with him.

On Saturday morning the city was starting to dig out. Late that morning my dad, Tommy and I went for a walk up town, to see what we could see. My dad took his camera, but I don't think that he took any pictures. Therefore, the accompanying picture is from a similar snowstorm that occurred on December 12, 1944.


Anonymous said...

My recollection of Uncle Johnny stopping by the house that Thanksgiving night, was that he put on his Army jacket and went out and flagged down a car, telling the driver that it was an emergency and he had to get to the National Guard Armory because of the snow emergency. The Patriotic civilian was more than happy to accommodate him. I think that the army tank part of it was just one of the Durango Kid's exaggerations, as I doubt they would have put him to use in the snow emergency. P.S. I was unaware of that portion of the snowstorm story, the use of tanks. I often wondered how he got back home that evening. And I do remember the warm fuzzy feeling of being in a warm cozy house that Thanksgiving and that school would be cancelled before we would have to go back to it.


Rich said...

You've jogged my memory, and I believe you're right on how Johnny got to our house.
The Durango Kid did come to my mind when I wrote the story.

Dede said...

The snowstorm of '56...we sound like a bunch of old fogies talking about the good ole days!! Wait...we are!!

I remember it well...The day after Thanksgiving I was surprised to get up and find my father at home and not at work. I looked out our front door and the snow was beautiful and massive!!
Our house had about 3 steps up to the outside doors. When I looked out the windows, the snow was up to the front door and there was no sign of any snow plow activity, no car tracks, no people tracks, etc.

We went to the front door and Dad opened it. He could not open the storm door as snow was drifted against it.

Being 10 years old, I wanted to go out and play. I got dressed in my snowsuit (remember those?). Dad took the glass out of the storm door so I could climb out. He helped me out...I teetered on the top step and then fell backwards. I got up, but was unable to move in any direction. Dad helped me back through the window.

It was nice to get back in our toasty house. Mom made me some hot Ovaltine.

That day for lunch and dinner we had leftover turkey and stuffing. Thanksgiving allover again! It was good to be all warm and comfy.

I remember that the sun was shining
very brightly that day

Nancy Mozart said...

I rmember looking at this storm from the 3rd floor of St. Benedict's Convent on East 9th St.
It didn't affect us much.

I also remember the storm of 1944. I was 7. Audrey Adams and I built a snow fort in front of her house (which later became Anna's. We could acturally go in and out of this igloo like Eskimos.

Anonymous said...

I remember that storm - forgot all about it. Sure brings back memories