50th Edition, News

Blizzard of ’78 pummels Newton; South kids help out

By Denebola
Published: February 2011

By Jeffrey Menzer,
Volume 17
March 1, 1978

The storm, which is now known as The Great Blizzard of ’78, caused havoc everywhere to everyone. Students were given an unexpected eight days of vacation. Because of the emergency ban, this vacation turned into a monotonous week. Most of us suffered from Cabin Fever. But many students and teachers had interesting experiences which helped overcome the Fever.
The storm came at the worst possible time for some of South’s athletes. According to wrestling team captain Doug Washington, the wrestlers were in prime condition and were ready for the tournaments, which were held after the storm.
But the storm put everyone over-weight so the wrestlers had to have  double workouts to get back into shape. Washington said that all cities also had to cancel practices, so everyone else was also overweight.
Senior Kathy Brauneis did not let the storm affect her training as a shot putter. Concerned about the girls’ state meet, Brauneis threw her shot put across the street into a snowbank. The neighbors thought she was crazy, but Brauneis, who found a way to cope, said she actually improved. Her only problem was retrieving the shot put which sunk into the snow bank.
The snow caused lots of problems for science department chairman Pete Richter, who lives in Bourne. Richter usually takes the subway into Park Street and then a bus to the Cape, but by the time he got into Boston Monday, the buses had been cancelled. He got a room at the Bradford Hotel and stayed until Friday.
Richter did not spend his week stranded in the hotel. He met three Herald American reporters, who were also staying in the hotel, and went to Scituate, Marshfield, 128, and Anthony’s Pier 4 with them on assignment. He tried everything to get home and eventually went down to MDC Headquarters to see if he could get the buses going to the Cape. After speaking with Governor Dukakis and his aides, Richter was soon able to take a bus to the Cape.
Notwithstanding his experience, Richter said that his troubles were “absolutely nothing” compared to those of others. Richter said that one had to be there to realize the massive damage that the storm caused.
Many South students spent their days off helping others. Senior Eric Geisser spent Friday working at MDC Headquarters in Boston. He answered phones, giving callers information and issuing driving permits.
Seniors Lee Zalinger, Jeff Rubin, and Steve Hall drove for the Red Cross delivering badly needed blood to City Hall during the emergency. They had no problems driving, for Hall used his four wheel drive vehicle.
Raelin Fox and Martha Alt worked with the Human Services Department at City Hall, answering phones. Most calls were for food or for information about oil deliveries, which were impeded by the unplowed streets in the city.
Senior Julie Leitman worked with Civil Defense and the Red Cross at City Hall answering phones and making lunch for the many workers who were at City Hall.
Karen Boudrot worked at the Star Market in Chestnut Hill during the emergency. She said that they were really busy and the customers appreciated that the store was open. She felt that some people were panicky, and many were selfish when it came to limiting their purchases of milk.
The Chestnut Hill Cinema, where Roberta Wiener worked, was less busy than usually, but Wiener said that many people called to see if the theatre was open, and like at the Star, they were grateful for a cure for the Fever.

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