By TERRY WOOTEN
---- — The winter of 1957-58 was a doozie. I was in fourth grade.
Snowbanks were higher than school bus windows along sections of the back roads.
I dug a cave fort in a big one west of our house, and used the discarded Christmas tree as the door.
If a snowplow had come along, I probably wouldn't be writing this.
When I wasn't in school, or lounging in my snow cave, I was sword fighting the tops of cedar fence posts almost completely buried in snow. In my imagination the posts were British troops during the Revolutionary War.
Once we were snowbound for three days, but nothing like the stories below.
The third night a giant snowplow woke me up banging and grinding through the drifts west of our house.
It sounded like a prehistoric monster, and the snowdrifts were glowing from its headlights.
Margaret Fales (101) Elk Rapids
We didn't drive in the wintertime.
We used horses and sleighs.
There was too much snow,
a lot more than now.
We visited neighbors in sleighs
to play cards,
and they came to visit in sleighs.
There weren't plows
on side roads.
The years went by.
Guys would go out on the corner
of what is now Cairn Highway
and U.S. 31,
dig in the snowbank
and make a garage.
They put their cars out there.
On Saturdays we walked
out to the car
and drove into town
to get our groceries.
In the spring big, huge snowplows,
you never see any of those anymore"¦they chewed the snow up
and blew it off to the side
to clean the back roads.
Julia Pascoe (April 1, 1920 — December 18, 2010) Elk Rapids
To get to Creswell School
we had to walk south
along U.S. 31
down to the corner.
Well, a snowplow came along.
It was a huge monster
with a big blade on the side.
I was deathly afraid of it.
To stay out of the way
I ran along the edge of the road
where the snow was deep.
My older brothers ran away from me.
I wore long underwear in the wintertime.
You can imagine what that was like.
When I got to school
snow was packed in my long underwear.
In the corner
was a big stove like a furnace.
The teacher made me sit by that stove
to warm me up.
Don Straup (78) Brethren
We had a blizzard the day after Christmas
with snow deep as a table.
It was 1935-36.
I was two and my brother was four.
The snow closed all the roads.
Our family was snowbound
until the last day of March.
Dad was an artist
and wanted to be a pioneer.
We lived in a shack
made out of cedar poles
with old barn boards for sheeting
until I was six years old.
I caught pneumonia two days after Christmas.
It was a severe case
with a real high temperature.
We didn't have electricity.
My parents laid a wool blanket
over my crib.
They brought kettles of boiling water
from the wood stove,
and placed them under the blanket
to make a steam tent.
Prayer, aspirin and camphor steam
was all they had
to treat my pneumonia.
I was out of my head with a high fever
for three days
before it broke.
I healed up in a short time,
but that was just the beginning
of our snowbound winter.
On the last day of March
the snow was melting,
and we decided to go to church.
Dad put the antifreeze back in the car,
and we started down the road.
Dad would drive far as he could
into the snow that was left,
back up and shovel,
then go forward again.
We traveled like that a quarter mile.
I was sitting in mother's lap
and have a crystal clear memory
of looking up the road
and seeing a big V plow coming.
It was the first snowplow
in three months.
It almost buried our car.
Dad shoveled and pushed us out,
and we went on to church.
Getting out of that winter
was a big event of my life.
Poet Bard Terry Wooten has been performing and conducting writing workshops in schools for 28 years. He is the creator of Stone Circle. Learn more about him at www.terry-wooten.com.