Up to our knees in '93 The following story appeared in the April 1, 1993, issue of the Campus Carrier. It is one of many produced by student writers chronicling the effects of  the March 12-13 blizzard that buried Berry – and much of the Eastern Seaboard – under more than a foot of snow. You can read more about this event at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Up to our knees in ’93

The snow storm of the century required students and faculty to quickly grasp the pioneer spirit and lend a helping hand.

Pioneering in Normandy

Dan Panici, assistant professor of communications, and his wife, Mona Oppenheim, found themselves trapped during the blizzard without power and heat at their home at WinShape’s Normandy apartments.

“We couldn’t get out of here until very late Monday night or Tuesday morning.” Panici said. “Mona and I would take showers at Memorial Gym when we could get out of here.”

In addition, Panici said they heated water on their wood burning stove in the fireplace so they could wash their hair and take a sponge bath the following morning.
During the storm, Panici said several faculty members came to the apartment to cook food on the wood burning stove and stay warm because they were the only ones with the stove for heat.

“We learned to live like our ancestors,” Oppenheim said.

“It was kind of neat given the sense of community,” Panici said. “Everybody was making sure everyone else was taken care of.”

Panici and Oppenheim were without heat and hot water for 13 days.

“The first seven days were fun-filled, adventuresome and [full of] the pioneer spirit,” Panici said. “There’s a thin line between the pioneer spirit and a pain in the [rear]. And the seventh day we crossed over the line.”

Movies, over and over

While students on campus braved freezing dark nights in dorm rooms, senior Bonnie Buckner enjoyed electricity and heat, but was confined to her apartment for four days.

Buckner lives on East Third Street, located on the Clock Tower hill in downtown Rome. She said because of the location, the roads were too dangerous to travel until Tuesday.

“We had electricity so we watched movies, over and over, and we played lots of games, too,” she said. “You find new facets to your creativity.”

Buckner said she did not play in the snow because she had been sick for the previous month. “I literally did not step into the snow until Tuesday.”

Buckner said when she finally did get to campus, the amount of damage was startling. “Particularly on Berry’s campus, it was amazing what damage had been done.”

Eight of your “closest” friends

Senior Christa Curtis said the weirdest sight during the snow storm was watching trees fall, especially the one that fell between two cars and didn’t hit either one.

Curtis spent most of her time cooped up with eight friends in one town house.

The group stayed in one room to conserve heat and to have fun.

“The best thing about the snow storm was that we didn’t kill each other,” Curtis said. “We got to enjoy college life for a week.”

“[The storm] broke my senioritis, I can actually study now,” she said.

Shoveling to freedom

Ann Ferguson, supervisor of the Guest Cottages, was snowed in with five guests from the Marietta area.

“I looked out and everything was white,” Ferguson said. “There were six to eight foot tall drifts around the cottages.”

“I grilled out the things that began to thaw from the freezer,” Ferguson said.

Three of the guests dug with a shovel from the Guest Cottages to the four-way stop past the Child Development Center on Sunday.

“They were determined to get out of there,” said Ferguson. “The funniest thing about the snow was the igloo around my car. I measured 28 inches of snow from the hood of my car.”

Cooking by Braille

Rita Van Orsdal, supervisor of the handicraft shop, called the front gate to see what she could do.

“They asked me if I could use a chainsaw and if I would rather use a chainsaw or cook,” Van Orsdal said.

“We had to use flashlights to see what we were doing. It was like cooking in Braille. We used trays to wave away the heat, because we had no fans.”

“We had to do all the cooking on two gas eyes and one griddle until we could get in downstairs.”

Saturday morning workers realized they were locked out of the down stairs kitchen.

“Some guys broke the door down,” she said. “They broke the hinges and took the handles off to get in.”

Saturday morning senior Chris Tompkins and Darrin Atkins went to the cafeteria to help out. Atkins works there, and Tompkins had worked there his freshman year.

“We decided to go make sure they had enough help,” Tompkins said. “It wasn’t all that difficult. All we had was hamburger steaks and potato salad on Saturday afternoon,” Tompkins said.