Monday, December 8, 2008

The Ice Storm of 1994

I can remember the weather forecast. Calling for snow and ice mix.
I felt secure as I had plenty of wood on my porch and my little red wagon was loaded and was at the back door in the house. Plenty of groceries, batteries and I felt there was no need to worry.
In the night there were cracking sounds, like tree limbs falling. I fell back to sleep.
I awoke a little later to utter blackness. The current was off. I thought it will back on soon. I fell back to sleep.
When I awoke just before daybreak and could see my surroundings Oh My!!
First thought that came to mind was the sight was spectacular and beautiful, but almost frightening is what I just read in my journal entry at that time. The landscape looked like someone had decorated every branch, bush, lawn with shining crystals, it was a sight to behold. Almost unreal. Every branch sparkled and was bent from the weight of the ice. Then I saw the hundreds of branches and limbs lying everywhere in my yard and in my drive. There were large branches that were broken but had not fell to the ground. My drive was totally blocked. I could not have pulled my car out of garage if I wanted to as the door was frozen. I could only walk on the grass as my brick walks and concrete drive were so slick I was afraid to step on them even with my boots in place. All surfaces looked like a skating ring.

So, I thought it will melt in a few days and I will be fine. But it did not melt in a few days. I was confident the current would soon be restored. My children used one of their favorite words regarding me. Look at this as an adventure. Well the adventure turned into a nightmare as far as this One Woman was concerned.

It continued to be bitter cold and nothing melted. No current was restored.
I will be fine I kept thinking, I have wood and food and this cannot go on for long. It was very tiring with the continual filling the wood stove. This wood stove was made for pleasure on damp or cold days. It was not installed as the main source of heat for this old farm house.

As the days went by and the house grew colder I was wearing my jacket, scarf and gloves in the house. I kept pipes from freezing with the wood stove heat but the house was truly cold and I was getting to the point that I felt continually chilly. I would read at night with the aid of my flashlight and the dim light of the fire. Mostly my Bible.
Items in my freezer began to thaw and I knew that all the wonderful summer produce that I had worked at putting in my freezer was ruined. It truly did not matter as I just wanted to be warm again.

Well the current stayed off for 14 days. I would listen on my battery radio to the local station every morning and every day they would share how many more area's the current had been restored too.
It was finally reported that there are just a few homes still without current. I was one of those homes.

My son did make several trips to my home to bring a cooler with ice and some things I needed. He brought in a big supply of wood. Now I was stacking it in the house.
He cleared my drive. Later a chain saw had to be used to cut off huge limbs that had broken. He wanted me to leave my home and I would not. I was not comfortable leaving it and not keeping the fire going. Afraid of frozen pipes, telephone finally was restored in about 7 days. So children kept in touch to see if I was making it. Also a few calls came in. I think because my appearance of always having everything under control most people probably thought I was fine. If I had not been alone this experience probably would not have phased me.

I remember catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My heavy jacket, scarf on my
head and gloves - and I was in the house. I remember shaking my head at my reflection. Everything I ate was cold. I would keep water on the wood stove to warm for tea and oatmeal.

Someone asked me later did I miss hot water for bathing. I truly have to say this did not enter my mind. I did not think of bathing at this time. I thought of just surviving this storm. I wanted to be warm again and eat something warm.
It was at this time that I began to have severe colon problems. It has never left. The stress of this left a depth of anxiety I guess that I have not been able to reach and heal.

It took me weeks to recover from this experience and I began to seriously consider leaving my isolated farm home. This did take place a few years later.


Enough shared this early morning from my city cottage.

Another memory on this One Woman's Journey Through This Life.

5 comments:

Judy said...

I know this must have been an awful experience for you alone in that house for that long without heat and electricity. I remember that storm. You have to be a strong person to stay there and not leave. I hate being cold worse than most things. I can take the heat but hate the cold weather.

Tabor said...

I remember going through about 8 days without electricity in the heat of the summer after Hurrican Isabelle. None of the restaurants had power and we had to drive to another city to eat! We had tried to use coolers to store food, but it was impossible to wait in line and get ice. I was pretty frazzled by the end. You are brave and strong.

One Woman's Journey said...

I do not know if I am brave and strong - or stupid. I know everytime my son would call and say I am coming to get you, just leave that home. I would say "no". I truly thought every hour that this ordeal would be over. I also knew if the pipes froze I would have major water damage and problems. So everything was intact except landscaping and this One Woman's physical body.

Grammie said...

What an experience!

Ironically, my power was off for about 5 hours this afternoon....and, I was not very happy about it!

: O

One Woman's Journey said...

Grammie it is no fun when the current goes off.