Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 8, 2014

ROOT: Through the eyes of a child

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I’ve been doing some reminiscing about the Blizzard of ‘77 lately. Facebook has had people posting videos of slideshows with recordings of radio announcers broadcasting during the blizzard, and it brought back a lot of memories.

I have also been on Youtube watching some of the local news broadcasts that were going on during and after the blizzard. The first thing that struck me is that I remember growing up in the 70’s, but I don’t remember adults dressing that badly. Fashions were, umm, unique in the 1970s, to say the least.

I also don’t remember seeing ambulances and police cars with the single siren lights on the top either. But when I look at these old pictures, I see those old cars and they just don’t jog my memory.

I do remember the snow being piled so high that we could look almost over the tops of our houses when standing on top of a pile. I remember all of the great snow days when we used to play more street hockey than we had played all year. It was great because, thanks to the snow banks along the roads, we had boards we could use for body checking.

I remember watching the motorcade of President Carter’s son rolling up Washburn Street as he was sent to see the damage for himself and report back to everyone’s favorite peanut farmer. I also remember my mom bringing people home from work right when the blizzard hit because those folks had no chance of getting out of Lockport and getting home.

What I remember the most about the Blizzard of ‘77 was constantly wondering what all of the adults were worried about. It was great! The snow was piling up and there was no way we were going to school. There was also no way that mom was going to be able to go to work. How could that be anything other than awesome?

Now that I have been an adult for a while, I can see how the blizzard could have been a slight inconvenience for people. Especially since I have had some time to see the pictures of what really happened. All of that stuff gets skewed when you are a kid. You see a mountain of snow and all you see is joy in its purest form. As an adult, that mountain of snow is your worst adversary.

But that is all part and parcel of living in Western New York. This week, we were supposed to get hit with yet another huge storm. As of Sunday night, it looked like the storm would miss us. But even if it does plow through Lockport, maybe we can get more out of the storm if we take just a minute to look at it through our childhood eyes again.

Yeah, maybe we are not as nimble as we used to be. Maybe it takes a little while to get out of our recliners, but that does not mean that we have to completely give up on the idea of really enjoying a snowstorm.

I am well aware of the need to battle the snowstorm to clear the roads and do all of the things that grown-ups have to do each and every day. I live it too, so I know all of the rules to which we have to adhere.

What if we put those rules aside for just an hour and looked at that mountain of snow as pure joy just one more time. Instead of watching the kids running around in the snow and chasing each other, maybe we should throw on our boots and do some of the chasing ourselves.

I want to apologize in advance to the folks at the Eastern Niagara emergency room for the possible influx of stress fractures on middle-aged adults the next time we get a storm, but it may be so worth it.

Let’s all take a snow day the next time we get a storm — and think back to just how much better we handled the curveballs life throws at us when we didn’t really care if we struck out.

George N. Root III is a Lockport resident happily living in the past. His column is published every Wednesday and will be available on microfilm at the library 50 years from now. Contact him at georgeroot@verizon.net.