Author Bio Introduction

Jim Degerstrom
Born 1949 in Milo, Maine

Three generations of the Degerstrom family lived in Derby, Maine from the early to late 1900's. This small railroad town was more like a suburb of Milo with 2,800 combined population.

The 25 year old portrait here with my wife was taken Down Back in Derby, Maine, one of my favorite childhood places Growin' Up in Maine.

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In late December 1962 the perfect storm of the century hit Maine with 6 feet of snow in places, and 20 foot drifts. Normally Maine snowplow drivers can keep up with heavy snowfall by driving non-stop day and night, but not this time. This storm was a nor'easter, and she won the battle as the blizzard of the century closed down the entire state.

My job was to shovel out the car which was parked in the yard. First I had to find it. Before that I had to go upstairs because the only exit was through a bedroom window on the second floor and onto the shed roof. Next, I stepped off the roof, or perhaps I should say up. It sure wasn't down because drifting snow was up to the second floor.

With broom in hand I began poking the handle into the snow until I heard a clunk. Continuing along, no clunk meant I found the edge of the car, and within 15 minutes I had a perfect outline poked in the snow. The next step was shoveling out about a foot from the outline, and then 6 feet down to get to tire level. An hour or so later I was done for what it was worth. It would be a few days before roads were clear to go anywhere.

Back then Derby had a post office, and a zip code. Both are gone, so today Derby will be found under Milo, and if you plan on a visit don't bother searching for a Holiday Inn. Anyway, back to the storm... the post office finally opened and to enter you stepped down into a 6 foot square hole to get to the door.

Someone in my family must have that photo of our porch from the 1962 storm. The main door was through the porch, and the entrance was a tunnel, and in one photo of my Mom it looks like she's crawling out of an igloo. Ayuh. That was a good'un.

Jim's handwritten signature



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5 comments:

the blue state blogger said...

Jim, there's a picture of my dad after that storm holding a shovel standing next to a huge pile of snow in his driveway that was waiting to be shoveled. And he was smiling!

mainelife said...

Just one time, I'd love to experience a storm like this. It sounds like such an adventure.

Jim Degerstrom said...

The delight of a blizzard, and then a few days off from school to enjoy it as a child, differs from the perspective of most adults. You're welcome to submit your Dad's photo with the big smile along with a brief story!

Sometimes experiencing wicked Maine weather just once is enough. I nearly died as a teenager and was hospitalized for a week after being caught in sub-zero weather wearing that band uniform shown here. The surgeon's advice to remove both frozen ears and a few toes is one reason I became a Maine exile and only visit during the summer. At the time he agreed with me, but stated "Tissue damage was severe. If frozen again certain body parts must be removed".

Mainer in Michigan said...

I was about 6 and living in Bangor at the time. I remember walking up by the phone lines on the snow banks and having the drifts OVER the roof of our 2 story house. We had to have a backhoe come to dig us out 2 days later.

jj said...

I remember that storm too. I was stationed at Dow,AFB-SAC and some of the snow drifts came up to the wigtips of our parked aircraft. lots of memories of that storm !!!