As I was driving to my destination on Wednesday, I heard a song on the radio that triggered a memory that I have since shared with Jessica and Lewis and thought would be a great memory post for the blog. For me, music brings memories. The song that I heard was "All of my Love" by Led Zeppelin. Not only did I hear it on my way, but I also heard the song again on my way home. A 1980's song twice in one day, on two different radio stations. I usually don't believe in signs, but this was just meant to be.
Senior Banquet May 1980
The song brings back memories of the winter of 1979-80, specifically the twin snowstorms that hit Tidewater and brought our region a record 41.9 inches of snow that winter. The first storm was February 6th and brought about 18 inches of snow in Chesapeake. The second was March 1-2 and brought 22 inches. This was simply unheard of for Hampton Roads. We are lucky to get an inch every couple of years. In fact, the weather is calling for snow this weekend for us. Ironically, it is supposed to start on March 1. Could history repeat itself? I for one, secretly hope so!!!
On to the memories though. The memory that this song really triggered was of my best friend Janet and I. Janet has been my BFF (as they would say now) since I was in fourth and she was in fifth grade. She walked up to me when my family moved to our neighborhood in Deep Creek and wanted to know if I played Barbie's. She was taller than me (at that time, but not for long) and was pretty demanding that I meet her in her backyard later that day. We met and fast forward 36 years later and I still consider her my best friend. We may not see each other like we used to, but we still talk at least every couple of weeks and if we needed each other, everything would be dropped at a moments notice. Janet was my maid of honor at my wedding, she was in the delivery room when Jessica was born, and in fact when I was in labor, she and her husband announced that they were expecting, and their son was born almost exactly nine months to the day later.
Janet and I were both seniors that winter (I had skipped a grade and was graduating a year early) and we were both dating midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. We had taken numerous trips up to Annapolis to go to the various dances. In fact, the song mentioned above was popular the weekend that we went to the Valentines Dance at the Academy. We would usually drive up on a Friday afternoon and come back on a Sunday evening. Looking back, I can hardly believe that our parents would let us do that, especially considering that we were only 16 and 17 years old . I would drive my moms Pontiac Sunbird, and off we would go. Once there, we would stay at a chaperones house and then go to different activities all weekend. Usually in the winter, there was ice skating, sledding, and of course going to the formal dances. The sunday that we came back from the Valentines dance, I got pulled over by a state trooper right outside of Gloucester and luckily was let go with just a warning for speeding. That was a secret that we kept to ourselves for a VERY long time. Hey, we wanted to use that car to go back and my mom would have had our butts if I had gotten a ticket.
Two weeks later though, she almost did have our butts for the little stunt that we pulled after the second snowstorm. On that Tuesday, March 3, I think everyone was feeling a little stir crazy from being cooped up in the house and Janet and I decided to take a walk. Our neighborhood was about a half a mile from the old Deep Creek High School. We had attended the old school until our senior year when the "new" high school was opened. Part of the old school was a three story gymnasium. On the way on our little walk, we stopped by the small nursing home where my mom worked. She had pretty much been stuck there as the next shift could not get in due to the roads being impassable. My mom was working and going to nursing school at the same time. Looking back, I don't know how she did it. She worked the 11PM-7AM shift and then would go to school during the day. She would catch a few hours of sleep and then go to work and study at night while the residents slept. Anyways, we stopped in, chatted for a few minutes and told her we would be going back home once we finished our walk.
We had just gotten out the door and out of sight when we heard a car coming. It was a couple of guys that Janet and I knew from band class. Al, Buddy and Danny were in Danny's Volkswagon Bug and I don't even know how they were driving as the roads were so bad, but they stopped and told us to get in. They were going to the old high school so that they could do donuts in the parking lot with the car. Sounded good to us, even though my father would have shot me knowing that we were in the car with three guys. That was just a big no-no to my dad. Once there, we came up with the bright idea of going out back to where the gymnasium was and I don't remember who decided to start climbing up the gym but that's just what we did . Getting up the side was the easy part as there was a ladder attached to the side wall. Standing on the roof, I remember Danny saying something about wouldn't it be cool to jump into the snow drifts that were up against the side of the building. There were drifts about 6-8 feet deep but being the stupid teenagers that we were it never occured to us that there could have been anything in them. We just all took that leap of faith and off the roof we went straight into those drifts. I remember being literally stuck up to my neck in the snow.
Looking back, what in the world were we ever thinking? Telling my mom about it later, she about went through the roof. What if we had been hurt? What would we have done? Why would we even consider doing something like that? I don't know even to this day. Janet and I were just talking about this when we chatted two weeks ago. Of course, we still giggled and no, we still can't tell you what possessed us but one thing is sure, we will never forget the second snowstorm of 1980.