In 1967 it snowed in Elmhurst Illinois like it never snowed before. It snowed elsewhere around Chicago, of course, but Elmhurst’s snow was OUR storm. 23 inches may be slight to important states like Colorado but for Illinois 2 feet? Mammoth.
Our ranch house became, not slowly, but suddenly, like a pebble that tries and fails to hunker down in sand as waves crash shore. Our home wasn’t covered by snow. It was encased. Relations among Dad, Mom, Brother Mark and I blossomed amid this shared thing. Lending a brush-with-fame element was the fact that eldest child, Eric, worked for City Services of Elmhurst. We Larsons, huddled like a human lump of companionship in our shelter, had blood connection to someone working to control this mess.
We didn’t actually sleep the night. We sought out each other and listened. Wind. Eric whooshed home late, exhausted and triumphant and brave to us.
Alive in the morning after, Larsons reverted to form. Mom and Dad did Mom and Dad things, honoring routine like the talisman it was. Younger brother Mark gave me the look I knew and often ignored. It was the look that defied conformity but didn’t foment rebellion, just invited it. It really was a terrific look.
We fetched hooded jackets and sallied forth to where the front yard was supposed to be. We igloo-ed into the drifts. We clawed a shelter and inhabited it. Then sleep-deprived big brother Eric came outside with a camera and took our picture. I can’t recall another time we looked so damn happy.