Thursday, January 30, 2014

March 1961 Ice Storm and More

Our current weather condition reminds me of the Ice Storm of March 1961.  When the storm came it was during the night.  In March, we woke up to a frozen white Winter Wonder Land.  I worked in Atlanta at the time and it was too dangerous to try to drive to work.  So, I called in.  So did all my friends that were not away at college.  We went out to play on the frozen  slippery terrain.

Larry Southern got a near worthless used car from his father's car lot and we rode around and learned a lot about the physics of driving on slippery ice.  We went to Town & Country Shopping Center, which was empty of customers' cars because of the weather and used the wide open spaced parking lot as a training ground.  We would spin, get speed up and slam on the brakes en enjoy the slide.  Later we tried climbing a steep hill and I forgot what happened but it put an end  to our riding that car. 

The steep hill was leading off Powder Springs Street across from Garrison Road.  We were just a block or two from the Marietta Country Club.  We got the idea of going up to the golf course and sliding down the big hill there on the green.  When we walked up to the  Country Club we realized we were not the first ones to think of sliding down the hill on the golf course.  Many kids were there sliding.  They had serving trays they were using that they slipped in and got from the dining or kitchen area of the club.  Other kids had flattened big cardboard boxed, and even one group of kids brought a car hood they rode on.  I tried a serving tray, a cardboard flat, but finally got the not so bright idea of riding down on a round red Coke sign, which the face of it was facing the ice.  I started down the hill, picked up speed, and for some reason the Coke sign started to spin, or I should say  the Coke sign and I started to spin faster and faster.

The Coke sign became a runaway out of control Coke sign.   I couldn't get off or guild it.  At the bottom of the hill is normally a pretty little pond.  That day it was partially frozen .  I  hit the pond, it may have skidded to put me more in the middle, then sunk. 
It was thigh deep in cold icy water.  I walked out.  The fun was over.

I needed dry pants.  My pants were sloshing  and about to get stiff with ice.  I was walking.

Sometimes I can be resourceful when it comes to surviving.  I sloshed and crinkled my way across town to Colonial Circle, where Mrs. Latimer lived.  My friend Gene "Jenky" Latimer was killed in a drag race the previous May or early June.  I knocked on  Mrs. Latimer's door.  She was happy to see an old friend of Jenky's.  I told her my pants were wet, could I borrow a pair of Gene's pants.  She gladly gave me a pair, which I went to the back and changed into.  Then Mrs. Latimer baked us some banana-nut bread, which we had with hot apple cider. 

Still, each time I ride by Colonial Circle off Fairground Street, or  eat banana bread I think of that day.

Another  ice/snow memory that bubbles to the surface of my brain from time to time that I would prefer it didn't, is one time when I was a timekeeper/Date Collection clerk at the Atlanta Postal Office in the Federal Annex  on Spring and Forsyth Streets, right next door to old Rich's.

A big snow storm came in essentially paralyzing  Atlanta.  But the mail must get through.  The time keepers had to be there to see that those that came in get paid.  I put a blanket in the car in case I got stuck or something and dodged stranded cars all the way to Atlanta.   My reporting time was midnight.   Then, it took about 10 clerks per shift to run the time timekeepers office, but more in the daytime, so there were 35 timekeeper positions.     We were time timekeepers for about 5000 postal employees.

When I reported to work there was only one guy , his name is Salmen,  was there on the evening tour, doing the work of 10 men.  I jumped in and started helping.  I was the only one that showed up for my shift.  Salmen stayed and helped me.  We worked all night long hard, without breaks, lunch, or anything.  The morning shift only one person could make it in.  So, Salmen and I stayed and helped him.   No other clerks showed up for two days.  Three of us worked doing our jobs at a high paced level for over two days without sleep or breaks, so that people would be paid right.
Did anybody get any kind of recognition or monetarily awards for our dedication?  Of course they did.  REM, the Department Head of Finance got public recognition from the District Manager and also because of people under him saved the day he got a quality step increase, which  would be a bonus when his retirement was figured.  Not bad, for a person, who said he couldn't get out of his driveway to come to work.

By the way, almost 20 years later when I was a window clerk in Marietta a lady I was waiting on proudly told me her father was retired from the Postal Service.  When she told me her dad was REM I told her what I thought of us doing all the hard work and he got the  monetarily award for our work.  She looked stunned and probably avoid coming to my window on her next visits. 


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