My favorite snow storm memories

Larry Stanford Editor

January 11, 2014

Some friends of mine were talking on Facebook this week about some of the winter storms that have come through the Atlanta area in the past, and what some of the worst ones were. While we haven’t suffered any severe weather conditions – other than the extremely cold temperatures – over the past few days, if you’ve lived near the Atlanta area for any length of time, I’m sure you, too, have some memories about our infrequent snow storms.

I looked it up and the largest amount of snow to fall in Atlanta happened in 1940, when 11.2 inches fell. I’m old, but I’m not that old, so I don’t remember it. Perhaps some of you who are 74 or more might recall it.

I remember there being a snow storm every once in a while when I was a kid growing up in Decatur, but I don’t remember all that much about each one. I remember making snowmen, and when I was 11 or 12 I remember sledding down Pinetree, the street behind our’s, on Ken McCord’s sled. It had about a quarter-mile long downhill portion that had one big curve in it and ended at Scott Boulevard. We could get going pretty good laying on our stomachs on the sled and steering it through the curve with the toes of our boots, but we stopped before we got to the end of the road.

I remember the ice storm in 1973 because it was one of the few times that Mama allowed us to bring Candy, our dog, into the house to stay warm. We had a big fireplace in our den, which was off the kitchen, and we basically lived in the those two rooms during the storm, since the kitchen had a gas stove and the den had the fireplace. The bathroom was in the unheated part of the house, so visits there were short and quick.

I remember when I was in college at Shorter College in Rome, there was a big hill down at the bottom of the hill that Shorter sits on, and every time it snowed, those hard plastic trays we used in the dining hall to carry food on would disappear as students would “borrow” them to use to slide down the hill.

‘Snow Jam 82’ – January 12-13, 1982, is my fondest memory. I worked with my Dad downtown on Penn Aveneue, just off Ponce de Leon near Krispy Kreme. It started snowing about noon. He left work at 5 p.m. to drive 15 miles down Ponce de Leon and Scott Blvd. to home in Decatur, and got there at 8:30 p.m., three and a half hours later! I was working part-time nights and weekends for WSB Radio News, and knew I’d never make over there by driving, so I walked from Penn Ave. to WSB, about 6 miles down Piedmont to Peachtree.. I stayed at the station that night, taking calls and compiling school closings. They let a couple of us take a news car with chains out about midnight to go home to get a change of clothes. I lived out on Buford Highway at the time, and driving down Buford Highway at midnight by moonlight, with no power and the streetlights out, it reminded me of one of those nuclear war movies - there were abandoned cars stuck on the road and no one around! Eerie!

There are other memories from other storms, such as the ones in 1983, 1993, and 2000. There were also trips I took, such as going up the North Carolina side of New Found Gap Road to the top, with everything dry, and crossing over the top and down into Tennessee toward Gatlinburg on a snow-covered road, and the time we decided to spend Christmas in Kentucky with our daughter and her family and drove into a snowstorm just as we got there. But I’m out of room, so I’ll save those for another column. But feel free to send me your favorite snow storm memories, and if I get enough, I’ll combine them into a story or column.