life in and around NYC is insane

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

how my mother got her skylight

when we moved into the house in 1968, my mother decorated our new den in a sort of Spanish/Tudor style -- dark wood floor, dark panelling, stucco and beam ceiling, dark brick fireplace, red and black upholstery on the sofa and lvoe seat.

shortly theerafter, she decided the room was "too dark". she wanted a skylight in the room.

but with four kids and one salary (my dad made good money, but still...), it wasn't likely that the room would be redone any time soon.

fast forward ten years to 1978.

the Long Island Ice Storm of janaury 13-14

Light snow spread across the island during the morning on Friday January 13 and continued throughout the day, with most areas averaging around 3 inches of accumulation. During the evening the snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain and eventually turned to all freezing rain which became heavy at times and continued through the night.

As the ice accumulated, power outages began to occur during the late evening and towards midnight, they began to become widespread across large parts of the island, especially along the north shore. In much of New York City, the temperature overnight rose just above freezing, preventing serious icing damage there, but on most of Long Island, temperatures stayed below freezing throughout the entire event resulting in one of the worst ice storms in decades. In fact temperatures following the storm did not reach freezing during the next several days and much of the island remained without power into the following week. The governor of New York activated the national guard to assist with the cleanup on Long Island and utility crews were brought in from hundreds of miles away to help with the repair of power lines.

As many homes on Long Island were finally getting their power back on Tuesday, January 17, a new storm dropped another 3 inches of snow during the day, compounding the utility repair problems for a while, although the snow changed to a cold rain during the evening, which continued overnight as temperatures remained in the 30's. A little farther to the north the precipitation remained as all snow and the 10 inches of heavy new snow combined with the weight of the previous snow and ice caused the collapse of the improperly designed roof of the Hartford Civic Center just hours after a crowd had witnessed a college basketball game there (miraculously, there were no injuries). On Long Island, the new storm had the opposite effect, resulting in improved conditions as the rain and temperatures barely above freezing was just enough to knock most of the ice off of trees and power lines by Wednesday morning. This gave utility crews a better chance to complete most of the power line repairs before the next major storm struck Long Island just a day and a half later.

All of Long Island was coated in ice. we live in a wooded area, our house is surrounded by trees, all of which were completely glazed.

we had...still have, actually...a mighty oak tree, taller than the house. one of the branches of that tree -- as thick and as tall as many full-grown trees -- became so heavy that it broke off from the tree and came crashing down -- right through the middle of the den roof. took a piece of the chimney with it as it came down.

we were without electric power for (I think) 2 days, not sure how long. my parents sent my younger sisters to stay at a freinds' house, since the friend never lost power, but the rest of us were pioneers for a day or so. and while many of of neighbors were able to stay somewhat warm by burning logs in their fireplaces, we could not... I remember one night, sleeping in all my clothes, with my coat on, and under two blankets. the dog was more than happy to curl up under a blanket with me, but the poor cat didn't like that feeling -- and spent hours running from room to room to stay warm. school was cancelled for almost a week.

when things returned to normal, my parents called in a contractor to re-do the den.

the hole in the ceiling where the tree had come crashing through was dead center -- a perfect place for a skylight, don't you agree?


Christina said...

Hah! Thank you Mother Nature!

Suzanne said...


I remember those storms. In Merrick, we were without power for three days and were shuffled off to my sister's boyfriends house down on the Bellmore waterfront. They never lost power at Steve's house.

Meanwhile, as a waitress, my mom CLEANED up that week in tips. Everyone was eating out because they had no power and the restaurants with good generators were busy.

Now, if my mom had wanted skylights, Hurricane Gloria was there to help.

songbird's crazy world said...

yeah, I remember Hurricane Gloria.

I was wondering what to blog about today, you just gave me some inspiration.

Blog Archive

About Me