Snowed in and Grandmothered 

Snowed in and Grandmothered Larue Austin and his bucket loader dig out his neighbors after the deep snow that fell on the region on Dec. 16 and 17. (Photo by C. R. Wagner)

“We haven’t had this much snow at one time since 1993,” said Dan Wagner, who measured 40-inches of snowfall in 24 hours by Dec. 17.

Digging out after that snow was just about impossible, but Wagner managed. He didn’t have a snow blower or a plow, so he had to use muscle and an “old fashioned” snow shovel. But even small snowplows on tractors couldn’t make it through that snow. Thank goodness for the kindness of neighbors helping neighbors. One of our neighbors came that day with his bucket loader to clear our driveway and continued on to do the same for many of the people in our area.

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

Pictured is the Jan. 11, 1953 ice storm that left us without power for days. My mother cooked in our fireplace in Connecticut. (Photo from the family archives)

Things haven’t changed that much since I was a child in Connecticut. We had many snowstorms; some leaving three to four feet of snow. Some were ice storms that left us without power for days. My parents were always resourceful and we always managed. 

During a severe ice storm during the winter of 1953, my mom cooked over the fireplace in our living room. We all slept in the living room for days, as that fire in the fireplace was our only heat.

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

In this Feb. 4, 1961 photo, my mother helps to shovel our driveway. (Photo from the family archives)

Connecticut was used to snow and had the equipment to handle the roads no matter what the conditions. But I remember the nor’easter of February 1969, when our school district closed for three days due to that blizzard. Even our plows couldn’t get through.

Neighbors helping neighbors was the same back then in Connecticut. My dad had a rototiller that he used to turn up my mom’s garden. When he finished, he took it over to our neighbor’s garden to turn up their soil. During snowstorms, after Walter finished clearing the snow from their driveway and walkways, he headed to our house and did our driveway and sidewalk. We didn’t need a snow blower and our neighbor didn’t need a rototiller. 

But we didn’t wait for Walter to arrive with his snow blower. As a family, the four of us were outside shoveling by hand. 

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

During the snowstorm on Feb. 4, 1961, I’m in the snow tunnel I dug out. (Photo from my family archives)

My brother and I loved it after our driveway was cleared. We used to dig snow tunnels through the snow that was piled up along the edges of the driveway. Along with sled riding, snowball fights and building snowmen and snow tunnels, things haven’t changed over the generations. I made snow forts, tunnels, and snowmen with my children and then my grandchildren. I imagine that will continue on to generations that follow. 

All that reminiscing of the old days in the snow made me realize how long I have lived here. In fact, I think I have seen more Bradford County winters than the ones in New England.

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

Dan Wagner takes on the challenge of shoveling out. (Photo by C. R. Wagner)

“So,” I said to my husband, a native of Bradford County. “Am I considered a Flatlander or a ‘N’Englander’?”

“Neither. You’re a Ridgerunner,” he answered. “You’ve been Grandmothered!” 

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

Photo from the winter of 1991, where my children are in the deep snow, sled riding, and tunneling. (Photo from my family archives)

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

My grandchildren are pictured after the snowstorm of Dec. 17, 2020. (Photo credit: Tabitha Wagner)

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

My grandchildren are pictured after the snowstorm of Dec. 17, 2020. (Photo credit: Tabitha Wagner)

Snowed in and Grandmothered 

My grandchildren are pictured after the snowstorm of Dec. 17, 2020. (Photo credit: Tabitha Wagner)

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