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The Great Blizzard of ’78

It was the great blizzard of ’78. Or, as we called it, the “old 70-8,”

I was just a boy of 8 in Sparta, not knowing that my future wife was graduating from Hesperia High School that year. Ya, older chicks dig me. But, anyway, the snow came and the world stopped.

I remember it so well. Our home on 10 Mile Road had a snow drift all the way to the top of the garage. As an 8-year-old, I had honestly never been more impressed by anything, including the crappy pictures from a Playboy that my friend Jim found in a trash can somewhere!

It was a doozy, all the way to 10 feet high.

I was in the house under strict nurse mom orders to stay inside because I did have a terrible cold at the time. But he phone rang and Jim — you know, the rotten kid with the Playboy pictures — old me all about the goings on outside. Sick or not, I was going outside come hell or high water.

I hung up the phone. Now, keep in mind, I had a cold going and I was 8. So, when I went to hang up the old green phone in the kitchen, on the wall with an 8-foot cord my mom had stretched the crap out of, twisting it around when she was talking to her sister night after night. Well, I had a “bit of a runny nose.” And, as gross as it was, I had about a foot-long snot hanging. Wow, was that the year for giants!

Needless to say, the neighbors with snowmobiles saw it as their God-given duty to circle the neighborhood to find out what essentials everyone needed. I guess they thought it made up for all the nights that they sat out in their driveway listening to crap like Three Dog Night. Or maybe it made up for the fact that they were white guys from Sparta all walking around looking like Brad Delp from Boston in super-tight tank tops and basketball shorts.

Well, I guess back then essentials were cigarettes, beer, cheese popcorn, beef jerky, a gallon of milk and cereal.

So, off went the snowmobile squad doing their civic duty. We set out to digging a tunnel through that snowdrift!

They were going gung ho to the Sparta Eberhard’s and snowmobiling right through the center of town just to show “the man” that a little snow wasn’t going to stop them. No, sir!

“You kids knock that off!!!! You are going to get buried in that drift and you gonna end up dead!!”


Who listens to your mom when there’s a 10-foot snowdrift in your yard? I mean really. That’s just plain stupid to try and stop that.

Sorry, no disrespect to moms anywhere. But come on, it was 1978 and moms didn’t make you wear helmets on bikes. They didn’t think twice about beating your ass with a wooden spoon or, God forbid, one of those orange Hot Wheels tracks. Hell, in a pinch, I think a mom invented a “sneaker beating.”

We played outside for hours and watched the super-modern snow plows go by, slowly getting the road close to almost passable.

The snowmobile guys came back. They had theĀ cigarettes, beer, cheese popcorn, beef jerky, a gallon of milk and cereal, which was good news because my mom was getting a little edgy.

That seemed to settle things down some.

The guys on the snowmobiles were still out hot-rodding up and down the street. I wondered why my dad yelled “SOB” at them. It seems the temptation of cracking open a 12-pack of beer to have a couple for the ride home was a bit much. Back then, there were barely any drinking-and-driving laws, let alone drinking and snowmobiling

After that, I went to bed.

But the guys on snowmobiles kept going up and down the street all night. Apparently, it’s easy to go from “hero to zero” in the span of 24 hours in a blizzard. But, at 11:30 at night? You guessed it.

The next day, the snow was still all over the place. But you could get out on the road; and that was about that.

— Andy O’



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