Today is the 20 year anniversary of the great H*alloween blizzard of 1991. I was 10 years old. I’ve always loved a good blizzard, especially one that lasts for four days. In addition, halloween is my hands-down favorite holiday. By all accounts I should remember the snow storm that shut down my great city. I should remember the enormous piles of snow. I should remember the shock of adults, the delight of children, the amazement of a multi-day blizzard that closed out October and ushered in November.
But I don’t. I vaguely recall dressing up as the devil and my legs were cold through the thin red tights. Did I even wear tights? Perhaps my legs were bare. I do remember that my mom’s boyfriend wouldn’t let us trick-or-treat (ever), but my brother and I dressed up anyway, and walked around the neighborhood.
I’ve always ignored the fact that I don’t remember this momentous night. But today, when thinking about it, I stuck with the unsettled feelings that arose rather than pushing them away. I accepted those feelings, let them in, listened to what they had to say. And I realized that this lack of memory aches because I want so badly to remember that blizzard. I want to remember what it was like to be ten years old and be caught in an enormous city that was stopped in its’ tracks because the plows were without blades, because the snow just kept falling, because it was blizzarding in October. I want to remember because I was there. I was in a place where something big and incredible was happening and I have a story, I just don’t know what it is. I want to weave my narrative in with others. I want so much to be a part of that clear snapshot of Minnesota life on a cold October that nearly everyone remembers in striking clarity.
But there are no memories. Like so much of my childhood, like so much of my life, despite my physical presence, I remember nothing. Despite years of frantic searching in my own mind, I still only find darkness.
And, you know, it’s okay to lose most days. For the details to drift off into vaguarities of daily monotony. But big days, days that acquaintances swap stories about, days that pull communities together, days that build bridges between people, well, it hurts to lose those days.
All this serves as a further reminder that it all was that bad. Life was bad enough that not even an epic blizzard could break through the dissociated state in which I waited out my childhood. I wish it hadn’t been like that. God, I wish it had all been different.