Ada's Joe Ferguson, who is no strange to snow and cold weather, having grown up in Ada circa a time when there was A LOT more snow and cold weather, is shown here snow blowing his driveway - which could double as a light aircraft landing strip.
Ada's Joe Ferguson, who is no strange to snow and cold weather, having grown up in Ada circa a time when there was A LOT more snow and cold weather, is shown here snow blowing his driveway - which could double as a light aircraft landing strip. (Photo submitted)

ADA — As the Polar Vortex took aim at Ada, Ohio, last week, warnings, a lot of warnings went out. It could be, potentially, a “life threatening event.”

So most everyone, especially the Millennials and Gen-Zers, scrambled for “survival kits,” there was a run on the Community Market to “stock up,” and Wal-Mart sold out of down coats.

Yet in the midst of all the hypothermia hub-bub, if you will, there seemed a decidedly calmer group of people. People who had (they claim) “seen worse.”

The Baby Boomers.

So I headed out to some of the Bulldog Baby Boomers, to get their takes on it all. And, inevitably, my first question about impending, seemingly dire, climatic conditions just on the horizon, was met with various versions of…

“You think THIS is going to be bad, hah! Back in the day…”

They brought in a what?!

And it was ‘back in Ada’s Joe Ferguson’s day’ that, amidst frigid temperatures, it also snowed one night. A lot.

Joe said it was “circa 1962,” but he couldn’t remember the exact year. However he could remember ‘exactly’ what happened that day all these years later.

Joe and his family, at the time, lived out in the country outside of Ada on what is now Township Road 25. Between Joe’s house and Ada High School (Joe was a high school student) was a dip, some would say somewhat of a valley, in the road.

While the snow lay heavy around the county, it laid heaviest here. In fact, the road at the dip/valley was absolutely impassable.

Heavy snow throughout the county. An impassable road even.

School cancellation, right?

Wrong.

The National Guard was called in (I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP!).

The National Guard was still at the old local Armory and they sent, not a Humvee with a snow plow, not a big military truck with a snow plow – they sent a TANK with a snow plow.

And, yes, the tank made short shrift of the drift. (Notice the poetic “half-rhyming.”)

What Joe remembered most about that morning, even more than the tank, was going down the deep dip in the bus with snow piled to the right and left as high as the youth could see out the bus windows. To Joe, he said, it seemed like this almost surreal Winter Wonderland tunnel, or something.

The kids made it to school by third period.

Which still wasn’t early enough for Bernard Epley, who drove Joe’s bus.

Joe said that back then “all the bus drivers were farmers,” who, each day, had to get back to multiple farm chores, and such.

“There was none of this ‘two-hour delay’ stuff with Bernard,” Joe laughed. “You were either going, or not. Period.”

“First Kid” to walk on, uh: Wisconsin

Ada’s Rhett Grant was also once a kid, a long time ago.

And when he was a kid, he was living in Marinette, Wisconsin. (On a map, the town looks to be just south of — the North Pole!)

He said at that latitude it was, indeed, quite cold a lot.

But, as with Joe in the last section, school went on.

What’s more, Rhett said: “It had to be, like, below zero or something for you to not to be sent out to the playground at recess.”

Rhett said not to worry, though.

All these Wisconsin kids had these fluffy, down, one-piece snow suits with just a slit at the eyes. And big oversized boots as well, many lined with: used Wonder Bread plastic bags.

In fact, between the big boots and bigger suits, the kids all looked like miniature, multi-colored Neil Armstrong’s walking, not on the moon, but on the snow.

One problem.

Unlike Armstrong (although thankfully this never happened to him, at least that NASA will admit), when a kid in this ‘Wisconsin winter apparel’ fell over, gravity actually worked against him/her in getting up.

Instead, it usually took two or three kids to lift their classmate.