Several readers have shared their memories and photos from the "Snow of the Century," and we're passing along those stories to you.
In this posting, we will share stories from Susan Wills, a nurse who helped deliver two "blizzard babies," and former Cedartown resident, Brad Jones, who made his way home from UGA just in time to get snowed in.
Thursday, we will share the story of how one couple made it through the first few days of the blizzard only to have to combat a brush fire -- yes a brush fire -- in between patches of snow. We will also share the story of a local family who put their wood burning stove and the contents of their freezer to good use and "pioneered" it through several days of being snowed in.
Thank you to our readers who took the time to share their stories and photos. We hope you enjoy them.
We were warned by weather reports over and over starting on Thursday however, I made not one preparation far what would be one of the worst storms I had ever known.
During the early morning hours of Saturday morning the thunder woke me, and the wind was blowing so strong. I thought it was just a
thunderstorm because I had never known it to snow during a thunder storm. Well, I was wrong.
My phone was ringing, very early of course from the hospital, (I was, and still am, a nurse at Polk Medical Center) to tell me what a awful storm this was and to leave early for my shift which was the night shift.
I remember looking out the window and never had I ever seen anything
like what I saw. The wind was blowing so hard I could feel the house move. We of course had no power.
So I started the process of wondering how would I get to work. The journey took about eight hours, and was one of the scariest rides I have ever had. When I finally arrived at the hospital, the wind almost blew me down.
Before my arrival, our director of nursing at that time was Joe McLendon, and Joe, and his son, had been out in lab tech Freda Timmons' truck trying to get other employees to work. They went to Pam Mears' house out in the Lake Creek community to pick her up, and lots
of fun stories came from that experience.
Joe got the truck stuck in her driveway, got out, and fell down in the snow. Pam said they were pouring bleach on the tires and any other
method they could think of to get the truck out. Somehow they finally arrived.
By late Saturday evening we were all there -- Pam Mears, Paige Robinson, Robyn McCarley, Freda Timmons, Shirley Addison and a host of
other employees, some I don’t recall.
Little did we know what a experience was awaiting us. Dr.Dominy and Dr. Morales were our physicians for the weekend we were very fortunate they were both well trained. Much to our surprise the hospital was full -- not a empty bed. Some patients came early in fear of the storm, others came because they were very ill. This posed a problem because the hospital was running low on food since the hospital did
not usually care for a full house. However, the kitchen was wonderful, they managed to keep everyone fed, including us. However, we began to dream of our usual night runs of Krystal and Waffle House.
The biggest surprise was that two precious babies decided they could not wait another second to make their entrance.
We delivered two babies, and the mothers had no epidural -- yes, it can be done. We had one old incubator, thank goodness, however, we had
not one bottle nor one drop of milk. The first mother was unable to breast feed so we were in a panic.
Two of the kitchen employees walked down the street to a house that we knew that had a baby and borrowed some formula and bottles. The next
day, Freda and Paige walked to Big Star and bought formula and bottles along with other baby supplies.
Late on Sunday our second delivery arrived. Both babies did great and are now twenty years old. Last year we had the first baby (blizzard
baby) come through on her clinical rotation. Pam Mears asked me when I got to work that morning if I knew who this is was and of course I did not, and she said this is one of our blizzard babies. Tears came to my eyes -- she was just beautiful, just to know the blizzard nurses had a part in her delivery was something special.
Some of the staff had been at the hospital for 72 hours and the only transportation was my husband’s truck. He carried nurses home and
picked up others.
The weekend was long and hard, we had only one room to shower and change in because there were patients in all the rooms. We slept on
couches and pallets. We were so tired, cold, and of course, hungry.
Finally someone walked to the Waffle House Sunday night and we had some of our favorite food.
We had patients come in the back of trucks and a they had a host of injuries like broken hips and lacerations. We were very busy. We kept
every patient until early Monday morning when some vehicles were able to begin to move patients to a higher level of care.
I don’t think a single one of us will ever forget those days and nights we worked together with the same goal in mind -- that these patients deserve the best we have to offer and we did just that.
We gave the best care possible and we have proof we that we did: two beautiful babies were born in our hospital during one of the worst blizzards we had ever known.
Susan Wills, Cedartown
I recall spring was coming pretty fast the first week of March in '93.
I was at UGA in Athens, and I was not as attentive to the weather as much as I am today (although I probably was more attentive to weather than your average UGA student).
I noted a small article in the Atlanta Journal (I think it was still separate from the Constitution at the time) that a hefty snow was
being forecast, and I seem to recall it was one of those “The models are supplying conflicting forecasts” kind of reports.
I had been discussing with my mom (Jimmie Jones), who still lives in Cedartown, about coming there for the weekend, but I was
non-committal. Later that Friday, she told me “if you’re planning to come, it better be now since they are forecasting snow” so I went
ahead and started out.
By the time I got to Thornton Road in Austell, the news on the radio began to turn more ominous. I could sense the excitement in the
reporter’s voice that “this is a big one! yippee! NEWS!” and that this was not going to be an ordinary snowfall.
It began to snow when I pulled into Cedartown. Overnight while I was asleep, I remember lightning and thunder, which during a snowfall is quite disorienting.
The next morning, the front yard had turned into the northern reaches of Canada. All the trees were bent over, leaning, and some smaller
ones buried. Drifts had buried the gas grill and I figured the drifts were over five feet. The power went out, and at that moment we knew
there was going to be a problem. No heat, no cooktop, no way to cook.
We quickly got cold and had to put multiple covers on the bed. Our only entertainment was the little battery powered radio that could
barely pick up Rome’s news station, which had a generator.
It was call after call of “Hey ya’ll, watch this” moments, with various people calling in saying they were bringing in the gas grill
to heat the house, going to burn mineral spirits in a propane burner, and other unsafe practices.
Just as many people called in to tell the host that “your last caller is going to kill themselves if they do that” and so on. Reality Radio, I guess --- quite entertaining.
Finally after the second day of being trapped in a cold house, a family friend regained power and we walked to their house for the next
night to stay warm. The power came back on and it began to loosen its grip.
A good samaritan came by in a large truck to “plow” the driveway so I could get out, since UGA had only been canceled for one day (Athens only got half the snow Cedartown had). I headed east, passing GDOT snowplows along the way.
By next winter, my mom installed a gas space heater, gas cooktop and other features so she would never be caught in a blizzard again.
Brad Jones, Atlanta, former Cedartown resident