This past week for two days I had to call off work. I live 60 miles outside of Chicago where I work so the weather there can be totally different from the weather by my home. Chicago got only approximately 2″ of snow and we got 15″ of snow. I am proud to say Midwesterner’s are resilient and can normally withstand snowstorms, but it is the blowing and drifting snow that stops us. On the open country roads the snow blows horizontally causing massive drifts and blocks us. Cars and trucks get stuck and people either abandon their cars or are stuck in them for hours.
The wet and heavy snow also caused mass power outages on Day 1 and commuter trains not running the morning of Day Two. In our home we had no electricity for 21 hours which also resulted in no heat and no water. We have well water so when the power goes, the water goes…which means no flushing possible! When I moved out this way, that really freaked me out because I had never experienced that before! With a cold, pitch black home on Wednesday night we went to bed at 9:00 p.m., and we slept under the covers with a 56 temperature in the house.
Of course, my experience was minor in comparison to those who were left stranded in their cars and trucks for hours on country roads or walked through the blizzard to their homes.
All of this certainly made us aware of and appreciate the luxuries and comforts we take for granted having electricity.
While clearing out my refrigerator/freezer and putting food in coolers to set out in the snow before anything was spoiled, made me think how my grandparents and great-grandparents lived like this daily. They had to work hard every day just to handle daily activities of eating and keeping warm.
My grandfather is the six year old boy in the center of the picture standing between his parents. I can only imagine the hardships that these folks struggled through everyday. The men in this picture worked in the lead and zinc mines at the Suckers Flat Mine in Webb City, Missouri in 1890. The women, most likely, tended to the food, taking care of children, animals and daily chores.
Many of the businesses in our town were also closed beyond their control due to power outages so it wasn’t possible to hop in the car to pick up something quick to eat. And what I did have in the house I couldn’t cook, but we certainly didn’t go hungry as we found things tucked in our cabinets that obviously weren’t our favorite. Again, our ancestors experienced this daily.
It was a “hallelujah moment” when lights were on again Thursday afternoon and life was back to normal. Here’s to our ancestors who daily worked hard back in their time!
Do you remember stories that your grandparents told you about their experiences as a child or their grandparents who lived without the luxury of electricity? Now is the to pull out your laptop or pen and paper and start Keeping Your Memories of those stories.