Every time I hear the news of a nor’easter bearing down on the coast I am reminded of our only exposure to one.
Our eldest son was in college and took the opportunity for a co-op job in Hartford, Connecticut. It seemed to be a great chance for him to understand business working relationships in his field study.
Although it would be a short time, we, as typical parents worried for him, being so far from us. When spring break came for our still in high school youngest, we headed for Connecticut for a visit. After hours of controlling the wheel, I relented to my wife and snoozed. Understand, I don’t snooze well, or long, when someone else has the wheel. I feel every lane change and bump, believing I’ve fallen asleep at the wheel, I awake.
I hadn’t been asleep long before I felt the car slow, I awoke to see snow falling and cars stopped. How long had I slept? Only moments. There was 4-6 inches of snow on the ground, and more coming down! We had just passed Sybertsville, the last exit before I-81, four miles further. I took over the wheel, inched into the slowly moving left lane and found we were all crossing over and returning westerly. I followed. The exit provided minimal assistance, the one hotel, restaurant and gas station was beyond capacity. We began driving cross country roads looking for any cross roads with anything. Nothing close to the south, nor west, we turned back east, we found a crossroads berg with a little home town Italian restaurant.
We were hungry, we walked in, it was like a home town Frazoli’s, paper plates, plastic forks, and microwaved food. There was one other local couple just finishing up. I look at my plate and wonder what was happening to us. Here we sat, in a middle of a Nor’easter, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch county, eating Italian food, served by a family of Hispanics concentrating on an Hispanic church service on TV.
The snow was deepening as we left.
I turned north, headed to the edge of this little berg and was just passing a church when I recognized, that their drive had been cleared. Interesting, no lights on, but the only cleared driveway in this town was at this church. I backed up and drove in. On the back side sat eight cars and a single light on over a basement door way. I went in, it turned out to be a Red Cross Overflow Shelter! They wondered how we found it? I wondered too. They had coffee and stale cookies, and half as many cots as people. I slept at the table.
The next morning broke sunny and warming, snow melting, people moving. We were able to get on I-81 and complete our journey.
I like snow, but that was our first and hopefully last experience with a Nor’easter.