Nearly stranded at school at Geneva, New York

by William A. Ladd
(Westfield ,Pennsylvania)

Bus Ride in the Country Side

Bus Ride in the Country Side

The year was 1946 or 1947. My memory fails me as to the exact year but the details are accurate!

We had gone to school in the morning as usual. The bus took the high school kids to Geneva High and then to the lower grades at North Street school.

Everything went as it normally did until about noon. Us kids were told there was a blizzard on the way and students were to go back to their homes. Kids who lived in town left and walked back to their homes.

The kids who rode buses were to wait until their respective bus came to pick them up. We were herded into an entryway and the inside doors were locked. Teachers and maintenance people went home. Kids could go outside and wait or they could wait in the entryway. But they could not get to a bathroom if needed.

One by one the buses came and the number of kids was gradually getting smaller. There must have been 6 or so buses straggle in thru the afternoon.

It was getting quite late and there were maybe 20 kids left. Then I saw my Father drive up to the door. He had been called by my mother who told him that our bus was stuck right in front of our house. He left his workplace, (telephone company on Castle street), and bought many loaves of bread, cold cuts and assorted other kinds of foodstuffs. Then he came to get us.

There were at least ten and maybe a couple more kids that lived out our way. We piled three deep in Dad's car. By now it was getting dark. Dad drove to Preemption road and turned west to the intersection of 245 south, better known as the Hall road. The first girl to get out was nearly out of her mind from the experience. Next stop was a half mile farther. I think 4 or 5 kids got out there. Dad drove a few hundred feet more and then he told us to sit there until he got back. He wanted to check the road ahead which often drifted full.

Dad soon came back and said the road was clear. We had only a few hundred yards yet to go. Dad gunned the engine and we started. A few feet ahead someone tried to flag Dad down. Dad did not stop. He cut right across the lawn of our home. The Flagger did not know we lived there.

The bus was still
there, and so were other cars that were bogged down in the snow. Us kids took the groceries to the house. Dad went to see if he could help free the stuck cars. He also told the bus driver that he need not go to North Street school as we had picked them up. That driver was very glad to hear this news!

Mr. Senne, the school trustee was traveling with the bus in case help was needed. His two sons had came with us. The Senne boys were sent home on foot to do the farm chores as there was no telling how long the bus would be delayed. They had maybe a half mile to walk.

By now it was full dark. The bus had managed to leave and pick up the high school kids and within an hour came back. He got stuck again in the very same drift as before.

It was several hours before all the kids either got home or had found a place to stay the night.

There is much more to this story. But I must cut it short now.

However, I must say that the principal of North Street School got into much trouble for leaving all these little kids unsupervised. Dad notified the Chief of police at Geneva about the kids that were still at that school. For any high school kids who could not get home, arrangements were made for meals at local restaurants and for places to stay over night.

William A Ladd

Barry's Response - Thanks you very much, William, for this heartwarming story. I think it MAY have been 1947, as a great blizzard hit the prairies and midwest in February and probably affected New York a day or so later here.

Have a look:
1947 Snow storm

I found these things on the NY storm:

In late February and early March 1947, the Blizzard of 1947 hit the northeastern United States, including New York City. Heavy snowfall and strong winds caused significant damage and disruption during the four-day storm.

Over 26 inches (66 cm) of snow fell in Central Park during the blizzard, the heaviest snowfall on record. Snowdrifts blocked roads and railways during the storm. There was a shortage of food and fuel, and many businesses and schools closed.

One of the worst winter storms to hit the Northeast in the 20th century, the 1947 blizzard remains a significant event in the region's history.

other great snowstorm photos on this webpage.

Search this site for more information now.

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more about stranded at school at Geneva New York
by: William A. Ladd

Some of the drifts were at least 4 feet deep. When Clara and her two daughters left to walk home We were afraid they might become disoriented or maybe tired out by slogging thru the heavy snow. The wind was directly in their faces for all but a quarter of a mile.

Clara stated that if she did not reach her home as soon as possible then her own elderly mother would start out on foot looking for them.

Clara had no phone so she could not call her mother. Clara had made that walk twice a day for years to catch the bus to her job at Geneva. They also had no car.

Clara was a widow. She lived with her parents and worked very trying to support herself and he two daughters, Shirley and Ester.

Shirley and I were the only two students in the first grade at a one room country school. We did walk to our school in all kinds of weather. Shirley and Ester had another half mile to walk from our house.

I vaguely recall that sometimes our teacher would give us a lift home.

Carolyn! You should be able to see Ester and My sister as they were starting for school on that tape that you made for us. I was in the yard turning somersaults

I have a couple more true snow stories I may post here in the future. Be sure to look for them.

William A. Ladd

poor kids got lucky
by: Carolyn

Those poor kids sure got lucky by the sounds of it; being rescued by your Dad and taken care of by your mother. Do you remember how much snow there was, how deep was it?

I can almost imagine being there! Good story!

more of the story
by: William A. Ladd

The mother, (Clara), of one of the girls who rode in Dad's car was waiting for Dad to arrive with her daughter. Later when Clara's other and older daughter from high school arrived on the bus, Clara started out in the storm on foot to walk another mile with the two girls. Another high school girl wanted to go with them but she would have another mile to walk alone. My mother insisted that she stay with us.

In the meantime mother had prepared sandwiches and hot drinks ready for anyone who needed a break from the storm. Several times the stranded kids and cold snow shovelers came into our house for those eats, hot drinks and to use the bathroom.

The wind blew fiercely all night and the next morning we could see many more cars that had been abandoned in the drifts.

Th sun came out very bright the next morning but it was very cold and the wind had died down to a slight breeze. Our overnight guest, the high school girl was given extra clothes and she went on her way home.

William A Ladd

Barry's Response - Thanks again William. For those who have not seen the beginning of the story, use the link at the bottom of this page.

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