Remember the big snow of 1984? I had gone to Columbus to buy a formal for the upcoming Christmas Dance. My older sister Norma had welcomed the birth of twins. She had married a Columbus man and they had recently bought a new house in the Beechwold section of town.
She helped me shop, leaving the children with her capable housekeeper Henrietta and when the clerk brought out the iridescent gray-blue moire number, that changed colors according to whatever light you were in, we knew that was the one. It was strapless and had a tiny caplet with it. As we left Lazarus, we noticed the snow was not letting up. In fact, we could barely see to get to her house, seven miles down off North High Street.
It was the day of the Ohio State-Michigan game and I, though not a football fan, felt such sympathy for the players as they battled the elements. I was 15 then and I am sorry to report I don’t remember if the game was called or if they fought the heavy snowfall to the very end…
I was given a room upstairs at Norma and Joe’s and had the upstairs to myself as they used only the downstairs. The house was lovely, with many “built-ins” and they hadn’t gotten around to furnishing the other upstairs bedrooms. Sometime in the night, the heat went off in my room and I awoke with a sort throat from Hades! Norma sent me down to Dr. Grimm’s office, which was located above the Beechwold Pharmacy, for a penicillin shot.
The buses to Washington Court House had stopped running and I wanted to take my ailments home and crawl into my own bed, (being fed lots of hot tea and sympathy by our mother).
I pestered the bus company on the phone with a raspy voice until they announced the buses would now be running.
I was so eager to get home, I feel I was probably on the first bus out of Columbus. A local classmate was also on the bus and we sat together, he entertaining me and I, trying to get some comments out with that major strep throat.
When we reached the outskirts of Columbus, it was as if we were tunneling through the deepest snowdrifts I had ever seen. When we finally got into our town, we were riding down a narrow clearing between two walls of snow as high as the bus windows. Our town was paralyzed. My next worry was: could I get a cab to take me home after the bus landed?
I had a very long wait until the exhausted cab driver came for me. I was getting sicker by the minute but by his careful driving, he finally got me home.
My father had shoveled our walk and steps and I opened the door of our warm house, where mother had a pot of vegetable soup cooking.
I am happy to report that the little twins grew and thrived, knowing a good and happy life. They are in their 60’s, Kathi is a grandmother and Mike, a former Columbus businessman, did not marry. They often visit me here and we reminisce about the days when they grew up in Beechwold and loved their housekeeper, “Henrietta,” always calling her “Yenny.”
I still hear other “Old-timers” reminisce about “the big snow” and that Ohio State-Michigan game. What I remember most is finally getting home and being thankful for being able to get into my own bed before the “Grim Reaper” came by for me.
Jean Mickle is a local citizen who writes columns for the Record-Herald.
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