Snow on the Prairie

If you grow up in North Dakota, blizzards figure greatly in your story. That applies to Grace and to me. Grace’s story covers two ways to look at a storm. The first is school children enjoying the aftermath of a blizzard. The second exposes the hazards of monster storms on the prairie.

Two blizzards come to mind as I read Grace’s letter. The first was in March of 1966. There was a lull in the storm on the second day. I used that calm to the greatest benefit, trekking to my girlfriend’s house. The storm returned and I couldn’t get back to my house for two nights.

Downtown St. Cloud MN, January 1975

Downtown St. Cloud MN, January 1975

In January of 1975 Judy and I planned to meet college friends in northern Minnesota for a weekend of cross-country skiing. There were reports of possible storms, but who lets a little snow get in the way of skiing? Snow is good, right? The storm stranded us in the last hotel room in St. Cloud. Not really a guest room, it was a meeting room with two roll away beds for us and our friends. We stayed in the hotel for two nights. The good news was that we had food and drink for the weekend, and The Godfather Part II was playing in the theater next door.

Grandpa Guy Havelick



Grace writes:

I remember one year we had so much snow that the snow banks in the trees around the schoolhouse were about six feet deep. It was packed in really hard from a blizzard.


Grace ready for a blizzard.

At that time there was only about six of us kids in school. We really had a lot of fun digging snow caves. We had three rooms with tunnels between that we could crawl through. I remember us all sitting in there like a bunch of little eskimos all cozy + warm. Many a noon hour + recess was spent playing in the snow.

That was the same year that my brother Henry got real sick with an infection in the bone behind his ear. The roads were impassable from that blizzard so he had to ride the horse to Tappen – about 14 miles – and then take a bus or train to Bismarck so they could operate on his ear.

Grace Letter 027

2 thoughts on “Snow on the Prairie

  1. I remember both the March 1966 blizzard and the one in January 1975. In 1966, I was in the 7th grade, and my sister was in the 5th grade. I was quite jealous of my sister when the decision was made that school was called off for three days for the elementary students, but the junior and senior high students only had 2 days off. It was a nasty storm – I don’t remember school being cancelled for 3 days at any other time.
    In 1975, I went on a ski trip with a friend to northern Wisconsin. The weather was bad enough that a friend from the Cities made the wise move to stay home. It was a scary trip north and back, but it seems to me the biggest disappointment was a football game where the Vikings lost to the Packers – I’m thinking it was a playoff game that kept the Vikings from going to the Super Bowl, but we’ve gotten used to that by now.


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