I am sure the above picture has made the rounds to everyone’s inbox each Winter since we starting accessing the Internet. Throughout the month of January, it seemed every meteorologist told listeners that people under forty years of age had never seen the amount of snow that we were experiencing. Well, I’m over forty years old and I guess I will concede that statement is true. I have read and heard comments comparing our Winter to the Winter of 1977-78, but for all the hullabaloo about that season and its blizzards, I cannot recall it particularly sticking out in my mind. I Googled and looked at a video and some pictures of that Winter and still nothing jumped out at me. Probably I was so immersed in my last year of college that I was oblivious to the weather. During that time period I took two buses to get to and from Wayne State University and went to school five days a week. I used the commuting time to study and it worked out great for me. I left my car at home since I only worked weekends and long holidays at the diner and could walk there if necessary. On particularly cold or snowy days I would hop off the Woodward Avenue city bus and seek refuge at Hudson’s where I would wander around the first floor, especially the perfume area, where I would sniff, spritz and get samples to my heart’s content, then hustle across the street to catch the suburban bus. Since I took public transportation for well over three decades, all bad-weather days in Winter simply morph together in my mind. I recall one particularly snowy day when our law firm decided to close at 3:00 p.m. since it was snowing very hard and had been doing so all day, a day not unlike today. I bundled up, grabbed my bus bag and off I went, hoping to catch a bus soon and arrive home at my usual time. Boy, was I mistaken about that. In severe cold or very snowy weather, the owners of several large buildings in downtown Detroit allowed bus riders to congregate quietly in a corner of their building to keep warm and dry while they awaited the arrival of the bus since the bus stop was right by their building. I went to this designated snow emergency area and waited with my fellow bus riders. We waited one, two, three and then four hours and each bus that passed us had standing room only and already were dangerously full to capacity. Each driver would open the bus door, shrug his or her shoulders and tell us their bus was from mid-day, running way behind and another bus would arrive shortly. I didn’t get home until nearly 10:00 p.m. that night and it seemed only hours before I had to set out again to arrive timely to begin my new work day the following morning. Now, that unfortunate incident sticks out in my mind. While SMART (and its predecessor SEMTA) partnered with the buildings to indulge its riders for snow emergencies, that nicety didn’t make up for the other 95% of the time when we huddled together braving the cold and snowy weather waiting on long-overdue buses. However, for me this still beat driving in those elements. I do know that taking the bus daily to Detroit for over three decades built fortitude plus a wardrobe of warm woolens and down outerwear to rival that of the most-avid sports enthusiast.
- Linda Schaub
FIFTY FAVORITE PARK PHOTOS