By Joseph B. Elvin, one-time member of the Lambert’s Cove community, and occasional contributor to the Gazette. From the Vineyard Gazette editions of May, 1952:
We have been to the Vineyard in season and out of season for many years and have seen all the ordinary changes which nature brings through the year, some of which have been quite out of the ordinary. Often, we have arrived just after some great storm. However, nature dealt differently with us when it came time for our usual February vacation this year. We drove down from Springfield through the whiteness of the storm of the 21st. It was a beautiful sight. Then came the 27th and the great storm.
Thursday evening, Feb. 28, 1952.
It was murky and cold yesterday morning and no day to work outside, so I put off pruning the grapevines for another day. It seemed too good a chance to put together the bookcase I had brought along, knocked down, and I went at it. We should have gone to town, but the weather didn’t look too bad and the weather report predicted only four inches of snow with clearing later. So we didn’t go.
About 10 o’clock it began to snow. Didn’t seem like much. Still, in spite of all warnings and common sense we didn’t go to town. We needed coal — had enough for the night and half a day — what fools these mortals be! I got to a point in the bookcase when I had to go to the shop to saw some stock. The storm was a little worse — snow eight inches deep — that was the most anyone predicted. The bookcase grew slowly and outside the snow piled up — light fluffy stuff, but lots of it.
Just at dusk it occurred to me that I hadn’t hooked the shop doors. I got into boots, overcoats and a green plaid cap of Ruth’s and sallied forth. The snow was above my knees by this time, fluffy and not hard to walk through — and it was not cold. The door was not hooked, so the trip was not in vain. As I climbed the hill back to the house I saw the most fantastic shape in snow with my car for a core. I decided to photograph it when morning came. I had already taken a number of photos, but the morning promised to afford an opportunity for some others, for the storm had not been equalled for fifty years.
The gusts felt as though they might be seventy miles an hour. The heater was having a hard time of it, but the coal stove went along steadily. I figured we should be all right, for we had some coal, and lots of wood if the coal gave out. We might have to go light on food! The power was off but thank goodness we had lamps. The wind howled, the heater damper banged and the chimney roared in the northeast gale. We gave up at 9:15 and went to bed, largely because the heater was not quite keeping up with the cold. I am always scary about fires, and with things as they were I wondered if all would be as it should be. No help could reach us through the drifts and we would have only ourselves to rely on. I lay awake before daylight and saw the light gradually increase. There was no telling what the weather was, for the windows were plastered solidly with snow and the wind still howled and roared in the chimney.
I rolled out into the cold, tried the lights and they were still out, so no radio and no news. I shook down the kitchen fire and opened everything so it would warm up the kitchen, turned up the oil heater and hauled on my clothes. The drifts were awesome. One huge one by the front walk, which I swear grew by the minute. There was another up to the veranda rail, and curved like a breaking sea. I couldn’t see down to the shop, for another drift cut off the view. At any rate we felt better at breakfast, the lights came on and stayed on. Then the radio told the story of the storm on the Cape and Islands. Quite a story. A neighbor called on the telephone and advised me not to shovel till tomorrow. I knew enough about drifting snow to do just that, so I went on building the bookcase. When I did get out I saw that the snow was piled three feet high up the shop doors and there was waist high snow to plow through to get there.
When my courage rose I went out to dig out the driveway. Don Fisher came over and did more than half. He had a big scoop while I had a long-handled round-nosed shovel! When we were through he told me he had a bucket of coal for me, so I went over to get the coal and the milk for the day. It is things like this that renew faith in human nature. You can’t pay for them but you feel a warm glow within. Just to do something in the afternoon we decided to take a walk up the road to the Cove church, where we waded hip-deep in the snow. Then we thought that Norman’s (Benson) was only a little farther, so on we went. Norm was shoveling. He was surprised to no end to see us on foot. When we got home, surfeited with walking, we both slept a while. Now with the chores done and supper over there is little left but to turn on the radio and wait for bedtime. The plow has just gone by — 7:40 p.m. — so the road is really open. We feel once more as though we were free to do as we please.
It has been quite a day!