Memories of the Blizzard by
(40 Stories)

Prompted By Snowy Days

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I might have smashed into the sidewall of the old carriage house where we rented a parking space, and brought the whole rickety structure to its knees. But with undeserved luck (we had dallied too long before coming home), I gunned my Omega through snow up to its gunnels, and fish-tailed into the narrow portal of the carriage house.  We looked at each other with relief and amazement.  A bullet dodged.

We looked at each other with relief and amazement. 

I swung the portal gate closed.  We trudged the half-block to our apartment.  By then, at 4:00 pm (or so) on the afternoon of Monday, February 6, 1978, the snow was driving horizontally, in frozen pellets, accumulating multiple inches per hour. It continued without abatement for two days.

We sheltered in place.

I retain just a few other memories of the blizzard.  I remember calling into my new job each morning for the next week, to confirm I wasn’t expected (thank God).  I remember (I think I remember) that the sun emerged from hiding toward the end of the week.  What else?

Across the span of 44 years a lot is faded, missed, and can’t be restored (the particular feelings, the particular embraces, our new marriage finding its legs).

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Here is what I said about myself on the back page of my 2020 humor/drama/politico novel "The Debutante (and the Bomb Factory)" (edited here, for clarity):

"Jonathan Canter Is a retIred attorney; widower; devoted father and grandfather (sounds like my obit); lifelong resident of Greater Boston; graduate of Harvard College (where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon); fan of waves and wolves; sporadic writer of dry and sometimes dark humor (see "Lucky Leonardo" (Sourcebooks, 2004), funny to the edge of tears); gamesman (see "A Crapshooter’s Companion"(2019), existential thriller and life manual); and part-time student of various ephemeral things."

The Deb and Lucky are available on Amazon. The Crapshooter is available by request to the author in exchange for a dinner invitation.

Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Thanx Jonathan for your well crafted story with its blending of outside events and the very personal.

    Looking forward to more of your Retro posts.!

  2. Suzy says:

    Vivid description of driving into the carriage house in that famous blizzard of ’78. Interesting that you retain only a few more memories about it, but great that you have captured what you do remember with your well-crafted prose. You should read the first 3 paragraphs of Betsy’s story, also about that blizzard – it might jog your memory. I have to say I’m thankful I had moved away from Boston by then, just reading about it makes me shiver!

  3. Marian says:

    This gives new meaning to sheltering in place, Jon, adding a blizzard to the experience of a pandemic.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    So much to read into that last sentence—a nice twist after the details of escaping from the blizzard. You leave us wanting to know more.

  5. Betsy Pfau says:

    As Suzy points out, I, too was in the Boston area (working in Waltham, living in Acton) during that blizzard and wrote about it – not as poetically as you did.

    Glad you got home safely and, indeed, sheltered in place. Your last paragraph is both haunting and stunning (as is so much of your writing); searching, ephemeral.

    • Betsy, as I got into your Blizzard Story I worried that you had started for home too late and would end up in a snowdrift on Route 128. Pleased you got home, with groceries. Pleased too that you like my Blizzard Story, and its dreamy ending.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Your story of being trapped by the snow puts a new spin on “shelter in place.” That’s what it used to mean in our pre-pandemic lives. I love your last paragraph.

  7. Interesting that the challenge of getting the vehicle safely parked has lodged into memory more so than the details of daily life during the great blizzard. It was apparently a huge moment of tension, and a great relief.

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