Stonehill Memories of the Blizzard of 1978
February 04, 2011
While no doubt, this winter has been one for the record books in New England, nothing can quite compare to the Blizzard of 1978, which dumped 27 inches of snow on the region February 6-8.
On campus, classes were cancelled for five days, a flu epidemic broke out, and building exits were compromised due to the sheer height of the snow. Beyond campus, thousands were stranded on highways and in their homes. The storm also caused over $520 million ($1.75 billion in present terms) in damage.
While the storm brings back haunting memories for New Englanders, many Stonehill alumni have fond memories of the storm. We asked them, along with a few faculty and staff members, to share their stories and memories of the Blizzard with us. To view our Blizzard of 1978 Snapshot, visit here.
I was a junior, living in Orleans House. We had a blast! It delayed final exams and papers. Everything just stopped. We went sledding on our cafeteria trays, we built snow men and woman, and we even built igloos. We did lots of silly things. We put bathing suits on. I remember that someone got the flu and my roommate and I dressed up in rain coats with bandannas over our mouths and big sun glasses. We looked like something from another planet. It was pretty funny! And the parties were endless and fun! Unforgettable!!! Valentine's Day was postponed!!I I had never seen so much snow at one time...until now!
-Gail Nuzzi-Milowe ‘79
I was marooned in Holy Cross Center at the time. I can remember Fr. Kruse playing a marathon game of monopoly with the students, building an igloo, running out of food, skiing on the roads, the school nurse getting around on a snowmobile, ghost stories at night, literally not being able to see our cars under the snow cover, and shoveling off the roofs.
-Dick Grant, now associate dean of academic achievement. In 1978 Grant worked in the Counseling and Testing Center.
I remember students jumping off of the roof at Holy Cross Center, forgetting the metal benches that were buried beneath the snow where they were landing.
-Rev. Robert Kruse, C.S.C. '55, now counselor to the president. In 1978, Fr. Kruse was the academic dean.
I was the RA in Plymouth House and I organized a campus-wide backgammon tournament (which was all the rage back then). I can't believe I lost to a housemate, Craig, who never took any risks in his game. He always played safe. No guts, no glory I still say. There was a guy from the Midwest who had a pair of snowshoes and built an igloo in the middle of the quad that we used to stop in for smoking breaks on our harrowing trips to the cafeteria to bring boxes of cereal back to our room. (One student) had her skis at school and we pushed her out of a second floor window in Plymouth House.
-Cynthia McCann-Rich ‘79
I walked across campus for an afternoon class and saw the first snowflakes thinking it was not too bad. By the time class was over, I could not get home and stayed at the boys dorm with a friend. I ended up working at a local apartment complex in Brockton shoveling snow and helping move cars for about 48-straight hours and sleeping where and when I could. I got sick with viral bronchitis...a trip to Cardinal Cushing Hospital (N/N/A Good Samaritan) emergency room....back to Stonehill to recuperate and then finally home about five days later.
-Frederick Watson ‘80
I was living in a small apartment in Brockton by myself. Linda Dunn was living in a studio in Mansfield. We were snowed in for a week. Once we got back to work I said to her the last thing I want to do is to go home to my apartment - I had cabin fever. She agreed. So we went to dinner at Christo's (in Brockton) and that turned out to be our first date.
-Fran Dillon '70, now vice president for advancement. In 1978, Dillon worked in the admissions office with Linda Dillon, now director of academic assessment. The two married in 1979.
I was a junior living at Holy Cross Center. The first couple days were great due to the novelty of it, cancelled classes, "celebrating" with friends, etc. I recall helping a friend dig out her green VW Beetle because she was determined to run some errands. The odds were against us but we persevered and succeeded. The bloom was soon off the rose so to speak. After a few days cabin fever set in and everyone got antsy. Then the roof of Holy Cross Center threatened to cave in and it needed to be shoveled. Next the woman that cooked for us at HCC (a feisty, older lady named Ellie) could not make it in so we needed to prepare food for ourselves and it sort of felt like being at a Girl Scout Camp.
We all paid for our student indulgences. After the conditions cleared and classes resumed, we were stricken by a massive outbreak of the flu (me included). As a result classes were again cancelled for several days. What a lesson! We were all pleased to return to good health and attend classes and did we ever appreciate Spring of '78!
-Helene (Donnelly) McGovern ‘79
The Blizzard of '78 was one of those times were you will always remember where you were. I remember my twin brother, who was living at the Sem, said he needed the car we shared. I picked him up and we went to Fernandes, which was a supermarket that had a liquor store inside it. We loaded up on "provisons" and had the time of our lives for the next week while we were stuck on campus. I will always remember looking out the window and only seeing the antennas of cars sticking out over the snow. It was the only way you could tell where a car was!
-Mark Zamiara '78
I spent the Blizzard of '78 in Washington, DC with the men's basketball team. I was the team manager and Stonehill played Georgetown the night the storm hit. We were stranded there for close to a week.
- Tim Lawlor '81, now the assistant vice president for advancement.
The night of the storm we were having a birthday party and a few party guests didn't make it home that night. Many new friendships and a few new romances were forged during the storm and its aftermath. And yes, the jump out of the town house window didn't bode well for one underclassman, who was in a body cast for the rest of the semester...poor Brian!
- Carolyn (Fioretti) Marcy ‘80
Ah the blizzard of '78, one of my fondest memories! I was the first one out of bed the next morning in my section of Boland Hall and I looked out my window into the back parking lot and let out a shriek! Cars were buried and the world was completely white.
-Linda Harrison O'Brien ‘81
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