Recent Snows Stir Memories
  • January 23
    Twice in the last month the rare sight of flakes filling the air and white frozen crystals covering the landscape became temporarily part of our lives in the local area. The two winter incidents have stirred a mountain of memories.
    There is no doubt children of today appreciate and enjoy when snowfall interrupts their normal school routine. I am not sure, however, if it has the same meaning as it did to the children of 40 years ago. Those were days when there was no Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlets.
    The closest we came to a computer was a bulky Tandy model from Radio Shack that provided basic functions.
    Without those things to entertain us, and with only three channels on most of our televisions, we depended on things like snow to keep us occupied and out of our parents’ hair. Living in North Carolina we treasured even the hope of winter precipitation.
    The possibility often sent children in Dunn and other areas of the community in the 1970s and 1980s scrambling for the phone, and I don’t mean the ones in our pockets.
    We would quickly reach for the rotary-dial handset on the wall and dial what we called time service. The five digits 2-8021 would quickly get us the local time and temperature. We prayed to hear the temperature was approaching the freezing mark.
    These days, now 40 years later, that number is the same, except you have to dial the full seven digits. It even sounds like the same voice it did so long ago.
    If we heard a temperature in the range of 32, hope began to rise.
    Snow, of course, was the precipitation of choice, but we weren’t that picky. A good ice storm closed school just as well. In the South you take what you can get.
    We often attempted to sled during rare winter storms if there was enough snow, but that often ended in a muddy mess quickly as the snow quickly eroded when temperatures climbed back up to the freezing mark.
    There were many other snow activities that became part of our lives during the winter months. Snowball fights were always fun, until you became the victim of a ball of ice constructed by a devilish younger brother.
    Snow cream was always a favorite treat; you just had to be careful there were no yellow streaks in the Eagle Brand concoction of sweetened snow. Some wondered about acid rain damaging our young bodies, but we survived lead paint, drinking directly from hoses and riding in cars with no seat belts. A little polluted snow wasn’t a real threat.
    There were also the assortment of snow creatures and structures that often graced our lawns. Snowmen, snow angels and snow forts appeared briefly before the always-potent Carolina sun caused their quick demise.
    Life in Dunn now is not that much different than it was in the early 1980s. It is still a small-town community with great people just enjoying their lives. Technology has changed our lives, but for the most part things are pretty simple.
    When it comes to snowstorms, things are very similar. Residents scramble to grocery stores in search of bread and milk. Many head to local filling stations to top off their tanks. And we get alternative heating methods in place. Snow is still a novelty we enjoy only a few times a year. Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910 230-2038 or