Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicago Blizzard 1967

It was snowing the morning I left my home to travel to the high school I attended. In that year Chicago schools still had mid-year graduations and this was the January graduation day.

As the choir "secretary" I was expected to join the other choir officers in arranging the seats for the choir performance that evening at the graduation. We didn't have school that day, though the teachers and staff were there for an in-service day.

I lived about thirty minutes away--out of district--but I was permitted to finish out my senior year at the high school where I'd started. So, I left early and walked down to the corner to catch the Chicago Transit bus.

It was snowing hard with big fat flakes, but I wasn't too concerned. The forecast, after all was for "partly cloudy". Everyone expected it to stop snowing very quickly. In any case, I had my overnight case because I had been invited to stay overnight with a friend who lived across the street from the high school.

The bus was slow that morning. When I finally arrived at the school, the maintenance guys were out shoveling the walks. I stomped up the steps and went in, the snow already a dim distraction as my mind moved on to the tasks ahead of me.

It was a busy morning so when my fellow students and I finally dragged our weary bodies up to the choir room, our thoughts turned to lunch. We were full of plans for walking two blocks north to a hotdog stand at the "L" station.

Our choir teacher looked at us like we'd lost our minds. "Have you looked outside?" she demanded.

And then, for the first time that day, we gazed on the snow covered cars down in the parking lot. Over a foot of snow was already covering the ground!

The guys decided they would walk up to the hotdog stand while we girls waited with our teacher. When they came back nearly thirty minutes later, they were carting big bags of food. The owner of the hotdog place was closing his stand. He sent all the leftovers in case we were stuck at the school.

We found that very amusing. For a while. And the snow continued to fall.

It was the second year of integration and many of our students traveled everyday from the far south side of Chicago. Some of the choir members were stuck on the L for hours and never made it to the graduation. Many of the graduating seniors and families never made it. Everyone who did--choir, band, and graduates--made the best of it.

And the snow came down.

After the graduation ceremony, my compatriots escorted me as I struggled through the snow. I should probably mention this was before the time when girls were permitted to wear slacks to school so I was dressed in a skirt and sweater and short snow boots!

Nothing was moving. No buses. No cars. A few people walked down the snow ruts in the middle of the streets.

It was three days before I finally made it home. It was the first time in most memories that schools were closed for weather.

The blizzard of 1967. If you'd like to read more, click on the photo.



  1. Lordy, I loathe snow. Pretty to wake up to but the wet, slushy coldness? You can keep that to yourself

    1. Fortunately, we only have these every few years!

  2. I was a little kid but I remember that weather. I lived in Iowa and Chicago was the nearest major, I mean major, city. Snow way above my head. Good times!

    1. Yep. And because we received follow-up storms and deep cold to keep it from melting, I remember walking between high walls of snow for much of the winter!