This post is for my husband who always admonishes me, “That’s a blog, Linda!” He launches ideas at me because I tell him I don’t have anything to blog about. Today after watching the five o’clock news, he was hyped and ready to talk about the famous snowstorm of 1967 that fell for 29 hours and dropped 23 inches of snow across the city of Chicago.
My husband, Carter, had just graduated from school in the last of the semi-annual ‘January’ graduations. Home from school, he went out to shovel the walkway and drive. He remembers that the main streets were crowded with delivery trucks, automobiles, and buses. People couldn’t pass and they were asking the kids to help shovel them out. A busy poultry store on the strip near his house delivered to grocery stores, and their delivery trucks were unable to pass. The drivers encouraged residents to make use of what was in the trucks they were about to abandon. Carter remembers other abandoned trucks, especially the Hostess cupcake truck.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to be home and my school was at least four, five blocks from my house. I walked home, huddled up with other girls, through a wide open field that lay between my house and the school. In places, the snowdrifts were up to my thighs, and the wind whipped up my skirt and between my legs. In those days, the fashion was mini skirts, coats, and vinyl go-go boats. On a regular winter day we girls would’ve been cold, but on this day, we were in serious trouble. Brrrr! Boys were armed with snowballs and they didn’t understand how vulnerable we were. I remember being pelted and going down at least twice.
Buses weren’t running, cars were left where people abandoned them, and people who wanted to get home were obstructed by cars that couldn’t move. More than 20,000 cars were stalled and abandoned overnight. This was the beginning of the infamous “Chicago Dibs”. The meaning of dibs is that after residents have dug out their parking places, they position chairs, tables, cones, or any piece of furniture they can carry in parking places in front of their homes and dare freeloaders to try to take advantage of their hard work.
I don’t remember if my parents were late getting home, but my husband says his mom didn’t get home for a couple of days. Her sister lived closer to her city job and she stayed with her. School was canceled for several days and the city was doubly impacted by another snowfall that dropped an additional ten inches that following week.
We Chicagoans never get tired of asking people where they were during the 1967 snowstorm.