Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Waiting For The Blizzard

As I watch the snow start to fall outside my window waiting for the predicted "Blizzard of the Century", I recall a day about 44 years ago. A day like any other day at that time of my life. The weather had hit a record high temperature for January in Chicago only a day or two ago and, as usual I was up against an end of the month deadline. I worked for a fairly popular magazine and had an office on the tenth floor of what used to be the Palmolive Building at the corner of Walton and Michigan. No need to panic about the deadline at 10am the next day, so, a little relaxation was in order. Fortunately our building was completely outfitted with a fine cocktail lounge on the ground floor. Three or four or five hours of refreshments with friends and I headed for the elevator ready to hit the old drawing board. After a couple of hours of napping it was down to work pouring over envelop after envelop of transparencies, shooting photostats, drawing, cutting and pasting pictures. As the final pages took shape, daylight started peeping through the blinds. It was almost nine in the morning when I realized that no one was showing up for work. Honestly I hadn't looked outside since noon the previous day and had no idea what was happening out there. Soon the phones started ringing. I answered the one on our secretary's desk only to be informed by the caller that he couldn't make it in because of the weather. What a wimp! Then I looked out of the window and much to my surprise people were walking down the middle of Michigan avenue while the vehicles that were visible were at a standstill. It looked a lot like a scene from Dr, Zhivago. A quick shave, hair comb and tooth brushing in the photo studio dressing room and I was ready to deliver the all important pages for approval. I stood for a moment on Michigan Avenue just taking in this once in a lifetime sight (or so I thought). I headed North to the "Boss's Pad", a route that took me past numerous Rush Street watering holes which were already packed with folks that "couldn't get to work because of the weather". Refusing invitation after invitation I continued to the "Mansion", dropped off my layouts and continued on home. Home at the time was up in the Broadway and Diversey area (about twenty blocks from work). I'm not sure how long the walk took because I was entertained the entire trek by the people. People walking, people skiing, people pulling sleds, people shoveling and people digging out cars. I don't recall any people complaining or being nasty. There was almost a sense of celebration going on. I arrived home cold and tired but a couple of hours sleep, a shower, dry clothes and I was off to accept a few of those drink invites.
My son, Derek, sent me a link to some pics of the event. Here are a few that are exactly what I saw that day.

The scene outside my window at Michigan and Walton.

Skier coming off the Michigan Avenue Bridge. I think he outran the plows.

Brave souls "making to the office".
I don't think that anyone got extra "Brownie Points" for their effort.

The Outer Drive wasn't a real good route choice.

Detouring through the Park wasn't a good option either.

Well, the snow is picking up a little here. So, let's see if I can get material for another "Snowbound" story to relate in the future. (probably not 44 years from now though)