By Katie Schmitz
On Sunday, January 5, 10.8 inches of snow descended upon the city of Kalamazoo. Students who managed to make it back to campus stayed trapped in the dorms while helplessly watching their cars or other forms of transportation get buried in the white mess. Students who had not yet managed to make it to campus were unable to reach Kalamazoo, some students were even stuck en route.
“I had a layover in Kansas City and was stuck there overnight when my flight to Chicago was cancelled,” says Jessica Paul ’16. “Eventually I made it to Chicago and drove the rest of the way to Kalamazoo, but the roads got pretty crazy and it was kind of treacherous. The BBQ I had in Kansas City the night I was stuck there made it better, though,” she added.
The first two days of Winter Quarter 2014 were declared snow days.
However, 10.8 inches of snow looks measly compared to the near two feet of snow that hit Kalamazoo during the Chicago Blizzard of 1967. Archived news articles about the blizzard, as well as modern day recollections, highlight the destruction that the massive amounts of snow caused, such as 76 unfortunate fatalities.
The Index staff of 1967, however, chose to look on the bright side of the extreme weather conditions in an article published on February 10, 1967 entitled “Exciting Snowfall Provided Delights.”
“Emergencies are exciting,” the 1967 article begins, “in the sheltered world of Kalamazoo College, where one is protected from all their bad effects, they add welcome change. Our snowstorm provided just such a mid-term relief.”
The article went on to explain more reasons why the excitement and disorientation that the blizzard caused was such a treat:
“Radios rumored 23 inches and records. Paths were transformed into almost tunnels– one-way tunnels at that. Announcements every ten minutes at lunch saying ‘Please do not take more food than you can eat! The less you waste, the longer the food will last’ greatly enhanced student appetites. Riotous living (in all its most immoral forms) prevailed all over the campus: there was no Sunday served meal, girls wore slacks on all occasions, and (most unbelievably shocking of all). Trowbridge was not able to lock its door one night. (Don’t worry: earnest caretakers rushed about warning the innocent maidens to lock their room doors against expected rapists.)”
While the school was having fun tunneling around and blockading Trowbridge from criminals determined enough to weather the storm, the article does acknowledge some serious difficulties that the outside community of Kalamazoo faced:
“Outside our small brick paradise, citizens felt less joy. All the grocery stores ran out of bread and milk. No one could drive, so stores closed, newspapers (even the
INDEX) didn’t publish and churches never opened Sunday morning. Lack of transportation especially hurt those poor or disabled who live on a day-to-day basis-and hadn’t food to last the four-day weekend. The hospitals also suffered. Doctors and nurses couldn’t get to them, and any patient who could reach the hospitals, came in fear of being snowed in (this applies especially to pregnant women). Many travelers were stranded in Kalamazoo.”
Just as the students of 1967, many current students “discovered the delights of extra deep snow and a surprise holiday” that the 10.8 inches of snow provided last week.