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This and That — Ahhhhhh! Sweet Springtime! PDF Print E-mail
Friday, March 21, 2014 8:13 PM

Spring is here! How wonderful! It feels so good to step outside and breathe that wonderful fresh air. I searched for daffodils and crocus but mine are not popping through the ground yet. My daughter, Mary, has some showing their little heads. I hope the winter wasn’t too severe for the forsythia. When those little buds start to show, I like to cut a few stems, put them in a vase and force them to bloom. It’s so cheerful. My old-fashioned cloves bush will soon burst into color. Those yellow flowers are so fragrant. I guess you could call that an heirloom plant because there aren’t too many around anymore. My sister has the “mother plant.” I’m going to get a supply of moth balls because as soon as the tulips pop through, the rabbits will be there to chew the tops off. I sprinkle the moth balls pretty generously and it has been an effective method to keep them away. The rabbits couldn’t find much food with all the snow on the ground so they have started to eat the bark off of some of the ornamental shrubs.

This season of 2013-14 will be remembered as the winter that just wouldn’t quit. The people of Toledo can brag about this being the record breaker, with 84 inches of snow for the season, the most snow for any winter on record. Fort Wayne also claims to have had their greatest snow season ever.

Some of my most memorable winter seasons were The Blizzard of 1978, the big snow storm on Thanksgiving weekend in 1950, the big one in January 1977 and of course, my favorite winter of all time, 1944-45.

Those of you who are 35 or older would remember the Blizzard of 78 that shut down Ohio for three or four days. Interstate 75 was closed for three days and some roads were closed longer than that. Many people were without electricity for days and days but who remembers the big snow during the Thanksgiving weekend of 1950?

The Thanksgiving weekend was a big time for weddings. Three of my 1949 classmates were married that November weekend. Sally German and Gene Bergfeld tied the knot on Thursday Nov. 23. Then Dan and Eileen (Wittler) Calvelage married each other on Saturday. Sally and Gene had their reception up in King’s Hall in Fort Jennings. They left for their honeymoon in Fort Wayne, Ind., with Gene’s sister and brother-in-law furnishing the transportation. The storm started that evening. They drove half way to Fort Wayne on icy roads but they had their love to keep them warm.

It turned colder on Friday morning with the temperature dropping to near zero. Virtually all of Ohio got at least 10 inches of snow that weekend. It was worse in eastern Ohio. Through all of this, the Ohio State-Michigan football game went on as scheduled in Columbus, with a temp of five degrees and winds at 40 mph. Michigan won the Blizzard Bowl 9-3 on 27 total yards gained and without achieving even one first down. The teams punted a total of 45 times during the 60 minutes of play.

My friends, Dan and Eileen, were married at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Jennings on Saturday morning. They held the reception at the Memorial Hall. During the reception, more blowing snow came. Most guests were having too much fun that they didn’t pay much attention to the weather.

My boyfriend at the time, Hups Kaverman (who would later become my husband) thought we’d better go out and check the roads. The reception was still going strong. We got that 1950 Studebaker Champion about as far as Nipkin’s gas station. Hups‘ better judgment said to head home, so that’s what we did. We got stuck in our half-mile long Grothause lane. Hups didn’t make it to his Landeck home until Sunday, when we used the Farmall H for transportation to his home, to pick up some work clothes for Monday morning.

In the meantime, the wedding reception continued until about 6 p.m. but the band from Van Wert had cancelled out. When guests tried to leave, their cars were stuck in the snow drifts, so the groom went home and got the farm tractor to pull cars out. Eileen and Dan spent their honeymoon in their little house trailer on the Calvelage home place.

During this time, Sally and Gene were in Fort Wayne. They managed to get to Sunday Mass and then hopped on the Pensy passenger train for Lima — the only way home. It was so crowded that Sally rode the rails, standing in the women’s restroom, while Gene stood in the gent’s room. They had to get back on Sunday because Gene was supposed to report on Monday morning for draft registration. Needless to say, that was cancelled.

Upon their arrival in Lima, they did find a hotel room for Sunday night. Getting out of Lima on Monday was a different story. Nobody could pick them up. Gene had a sister, Mary, living in Lima but way out on the west end. The newlyweds took off walking clear across town on the snow-covered streets, carrying their suitcases and Sally was wearing open toed shoes. There was no traffic to contend with, just Mother Nature. On Tuesday morning, they finally made it to Delphos, still not completely thawed out.

Many “old timers” told of the Severe Blizzard of January 1918, which nearly paralyzed the state. Drifts were reported to be as high as the second floor windows of farm homes, 10 15 feet. Factories closed to conserve the coal supply. At that time, there weren’t many cars to get stranded on the roads and many homes did not have electricity. Farmers had horses and sleds to get around. It was reported that ice on the Maumee was 20 inches thick. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported “not in 50 years, it is said, have police records shown a smaller number of arrests for a Saturday and Sunday period.” It was too cold and the snow was too deep for criminals to practice their trade

How about snow in May??!! On 21 May 1883 they had snow and more snow in this locale. Local and area newspapers reported that 15 to 16 inches of the white stuff fell during 12 hours that day. The Delphos Weekly Herald called it a really remarkable phenomenon that not even the oldest resident in town could recall anything like it happening before. It rained considerably during the night preceding May 21. The snow commenced falling about 6 to 8 inches in the morning and kept it up for 12 hours. The Lima Daily Republican reported “This beats all.” It described little onions in the garden peeping up through the snow as if it were really funny. The Lima paper reported that one old-timer said that nine years prior to this snowfall there was a slight fall of snow the second of May, but it did not amount to much.

We’ve had winter floods too…a bit one hit in January 1959. The 1913 flood waited until spring. Heavy rainfall began over Ohio during the evening of Easter Sunday, 23 March and continued for day, creating Ohio’s Greatest Weather Disaster.

Heavy snow hit northern Ohio in January of 1910, then in February most of Ohio was hit by another heavy snow. Trains were running more than 12 hours late and many were abandoned after becoming mired in drifts. Members of the Ohio General Assembly usually left Columbus for home Thursday evenings but were snowed in on the 17 of February 1910.

How can any of us forget the winter flood of 2008, which happened on the heels of the big flood in August of 2007. Those along the Blanchard River in Ottawa and Findlay, were especially hard hit both times.

Mother Nature plays many tricks on us. We might even get snow next week but as for now ……Spring has arrived… The Dairy Hut and The Creamery are open and the buzzards have returned to roost in Delphos. For years, they arrived in Hinkley on March 19 but some of them got lost and took up residence in the northeast corner of Delphos.


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