The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


February 28, 2014

Another look at winter memories

Recently, a newspaper proclaimed, “It’s Official, 2014 is Worst Winter in Memory.”

Not so fast, 20-somethings. Don’t discount many octogentarians who will recall those swirling winds of 1936.

Winters of old are legendary for hard times caused by severe weather, provable by the way we coped then…using things that we don’t see now. When did you last see someone pull on boots or galoshes? Wear earmuffs? Put chains on their car?

People now enjoy insulated homes, good heaters in their cars, and much more stylish clothing, (compared to the thick coats, mufflers, and fur hats of yesteryear).

The Herald’s archives are replete with tales of 1936’s constant blizzard conditions — at least two weather articles per day. Train traffic often ceased, or at least waited for plows to clear rails. Winds were reminiscent of dust-bowl-type “white outs.” But some have fond memories of that year.

Ullainee Wareham, 102, says, “It wasn’t so bad. We got married in 1936, so I had Lyman to keep me warm then.”

She recalls, too, her father’s story of how he walked to Mercy Hospital in deep snow to see her April 10, 1912…the day she was born.

Her son, Jerry, remembers that, “Anne and I used to skate crack-the-whip with Gus Witt on a frozen slough, and loaded up toboggans with high school kids in weather so cold your breath might freeze.”

Anne recalls skating on the slough and missing her ride home once, and crying tears that froze to her cheeks walking home.

Later years had their stories too. Tom Koester tells of one Christmas Eve, while managing Pizza Hut, “I got stuck in a drift up by Whittier and had to call friends Dave Nissen and Chuck Belik. While they worked to get my car free, Hoyt Holmes took me to work. Since nobody else came in, I closed up at 1:00…Found my car outside, all clean and warm.

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