Residents share snow stories of the past and the present
People usually recall each time snow arrives in South Carolina, but probably not the year – other than the overwhelming exception of the blizzard of 1973.
“I saw more snow that time than I had every seen in my life,” said Bill Gallman, the retired deputy superintendent for the Aiken County School District.
He was employed by the District at that time and enjoyed the 15 inches or more of snow that blanketed the entire state.
“Schools shut down for the week, and people weren't able to do anything,” Gallman said. “I was a young man with small children at the time, and we had a lot of fun.”
The Ridge Spring area is less than 25 miles from Aiken, but the temperature usually is significantly lower there. That's absolutely true, said Suzanne Redd, a Millbrook Elementary School teacher. She grew up in that vicinity, where her dad operated a peach farm in Edgefield County. The roads in 1973 – many of them only dirt – weren't in good shape in the best of times and certainly not in a snowstorm, which made driving even more difficult. Still, her dad, Ray Rauton, would hook up his tractor every day and get to the farm to handle all the chores.
Redd didn't mind too much the low temperatures and that the family lost electricity for a week. She was a young teenager and had a great time.
On Tuesday, her kindergarten students began to understand that snow likely was arriving. She enjoyed their emerging joy about the snow, “but now I hate it,” she said with a smile.
Tara Sharp, a Millbrook parent, saw a lot of snow during her childhood, spending much of her life in the Quad Cities area of Iowa.
At night during heavy snows, Sharp said, the world around her would be eerily silent, except for the occasional sounds of snow at the crest of the ice.
“My parents would use the snow-blower, and then we could climb on piles that were 10 feet high,” Sharp said on Tuesday morning. “I hope it does snow. I want my daughters to see it.”
First-grader Trynity Prysock, 7, knows a lot more about snow than her classmates. She was 4 and living in New York during a large storm – and in the aftermath having lunch with her family outside.
“We had a snowball fight, a contest to see who had the biggest snowball,” Trynity said. “Then we would play hide and seek.”
Forty-one years after the 1973 blizzard, Bill Gallman has never tired of snow. On Friday, he and his wife Jean are leaving for a trip that's been a constant in their lives for more than three decades. They're headed to West Virginia to ski.
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.