Monday, April 20, 2009

Remembering the Farm - Storm of 1955 continued

My second cousin, Bryan (who lived two miles west of us) and his wife Joan sent me their stories of the Blizzard of '55 so I thought I'd post them for the benefit of anyone interested in the not-so-olden days.

Bryan said he remembers that his Mom drove the car to school that morning to Aroma Lake School (another one-room country school about 4 miles away). Bryan’s uncle, Mike Kump came early to pick up his children. Mike always was tracking storms and seemed to know exactly when they were coming! Bryan's dad, Henry could not get his horses from the Coulee so he borrowed neighbour John Ulrich's outfit. Henry came to school to pick his family up. Jordan Herle kids stayed at Albert Gerlinsky farm. Bert Dale (my uncle) and Jim Hingston (my Dad’s cousin) couldn't get out the drive way at Henry's to go to my Dad's place so they stayed overnight. They were installing a new furnace at Henry's place. Hwy 14 was blocked!

My (Joan’s) story is a little different. We had school bus service at Handel at the time. Our school bus driver came around 2 o'clock to pick the kids up. Instead of going the normal route he took his kids home first. Phone lines were down and some parents were scared because, we didn't arrive home. My dad Henry Loerzel walked, from Handel School, then to Stan Graver's place 2 1/2 miles north of our place, from there Stan and my dad, kept on walking, where the bus route should have been. They almost froze to death, going from farmer to farmer's place. (They had towels wrapped around their faces).

We were stuck in the ditch 1 1/2 miles from Handel (1/2 mile east of our farm.). Our driver walked to Handel for help, leaving my oldest sister in charge of the bus and kids. We ate all the left over school lunch's we had. We prayed the rosary at least 100 times! (We were all RC's on the bus). I remember when the boys took a pee out the bus door, my oldest sister had to hang on to them, the wind was so strong.

Hours later our driver came back and said the road is blocked at the crossing, so we would have to hold hands and walk the one mile. The older children on the bus that morning wore spring jackets, no gloves!!! Older kids in the middle, little one's on the ends. I think that's how crack the whip got its name! If you let go, you flew into the ditch!

We arrived at the Railway Crossing and Gillen’s flat deck truck was waiting for us! We were so thankful that our prayers were answered! We were all split up to different homes in Handel. My family stayed at Frank Schreich's, at the Train Station. We were lucky his wife was a nurse. We froze mainly our hands, feet and faces. Four days later Ange and I were taken by train to Wilkie. We stayed in the hospital awhile. Ange was worse as they peeled her feet and hands! They almost flew her to Saskatoon by air ambulance. We must have been in bad shape!

Our driver almost lost his job over it all, as he took his kids home first to be safe! Long story short, the neighbours said he needed the job.

I remember having lots of fun sliding off the roof tops with our flying saucer that winter and going to school and church all winter in the cutter. Then in spring we had to go with horses again in an open grain wagon, which was fun too.

1 comment:

  1. I only recall two major storms on the U.S. east coast. One around 1963 and another in the late 70s. We had about 26 inches in a few days. The only time I can recall schools being closed. In NY the snow was so high the 4x4s would hear a crunch as they drove patients to the hospital. That was the sound of car roofs crumbling the snow was so high.

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