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Southbridge History & More

by Mary Trifone

Monday, February 6, 1978 - At the time, I was working in the AO Research Center Business Office, Bldg. 17.

What started as a regular work-day became one that ended in the annals of the weather bureau.

I walked to work as I ordinarily did and it had a feel of snow in the air - cold and raw.

It started to snow and by mid-morning began to accumulate rapidly.

 As the morning progressed personnel became concerned as the radio kept
warning of potential danger and hazardous road conditions.

Many of the workers came from surrounding towns, and others scientists and machinists who had been transferred from the Framingham plant  maintained homes in that area.

Workers started to leave gradually and by four o’clock after all had gone, I secured the building,  a responsibility of the Business Office, and headed for home.  I called my husband, Quinto, and told him not to attempt to come for me, I would walk home, as I was accustomed to walking in all sorts of weather.  There were very few cars traveling about.

I started walking in the road facing traffic onto Main St.  As I was passing the Elks Club, formerly the home of Channing Wells, a car with Connecticut plates stopped to offer me a ride but I thanked them and continued on my way.

I planned to make stops along the way.  The first stop was to the lobby of the Post Office.

My next stop was McLellan’s;  thankfully it was still opened although dimly lit and there was  no sign of life.  However, the door was open and I stopped in briefly.  I then prepared myself for the final stop.  I walked along Elm St. to Hartwell where the lights welcomed me  HOME.

Governor Dukakis  had told people to stay home until the roads were passable.

I believe that by the end of the week, plants began to operate; the sun shown but the snow remained  for many days.

It is ironic that at the time of the 1938 hurricane, which occurred after the flood, I was called to work in the Payroll Department and was in the building wing when the hurricane struck and  we watched the pine trees topple over in the back yard between the main building and the then carpenter shop.  I wonder if anyone else now living  can recall being in the plant during these two memorable events.

Mary Trifone

Dad on the AO Grounds (Bld 17 parking lot) after the Blizzard of 1978

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Last update Jan 8, 2010