In “Cold Comforts” in our January/February 2016 issue, we invited readers to share their Cornell-in-winter memories.
During senior year, I decided to stay on campus between semesters. A blizzard engulfed Ithaca over February 4-5, leaving behind twenty-six inches of snow. My fiancée, Barbara Ballweg ’61, and I toured campus on the 6th, stopping for a 1961“selfie” in front of Goldwin Smith Hall. A very memorable day.
Bob Everson ’61
Start of winter term 1978, and the Eastern Seaboard is paralyzed by twenty-seven inches of snow. I had returned early as house manager of Phi Sigma Kappa, planning a mandatory work session before classes; so much for that. As my housemates straggled back to campus over the following week, I shoveled snow off the big white house’s roof for fear of its collapse. Somehow, it’s still standing!
Rob Sanders ’81
I remember standing at the top of an ice-drenched, near-vertical Buffalo Street and trying to plot my descent. I had no other option as my apartment was halfway down. I could not work out how to do it; the street looked like an up-ended skating rink. Finally, I sat down and inched it all the way. Coming from Canada I had been laboring under the impression that I knew something about winter. So naïve!
Selina Stewart, PhD ’97
Normally, the northern lights are not visible in New York. One year, one night, however, sometime between 1966 and 1970, they were visible! Everyone ran out of their dorms and lay flat on the snow to get the best view. Forget the cold. It was magical!
Janet L. Wiebold ’70
I went to Goodwill and bought an ancient raccoon-skin coat. Finally able to survive three more winters. Now of course I am in Arizona.
Joanne Trifilo ’71
It was our freshman year, the first winter at Cornell. January or February 1958. I am not sure if this is pure memory or memory enhanced by all the years (and snow) since then.We had a horrible snowstorm, leaving an absolutely beautifulwhite campus. Snow up to the “patio-balcony” (or whatever it was called) of Balch, meaning snow up to our hips! The Cornell powers that be in all their beneficence did not cancel classes (as did all the schools and colleges in the area) but allowed the co-eds to wear “pants” to class. Those were the days!
Marlene “Alfie” Alpert Tein ’61
Boca Raton, FL
It’s true: no matter what direction you walk, the wind blows against you in the winter in Ithaca. My husband, Doug Miller, PhD ’77, lived five minutes from Baker Institute on Snyder Hill. One morning he walked there and realized when he arrived that his ears were frostbitten.
Jane Saler Miller, MS ’77
I am pretty sure January 1966 finals were postponed by a day due to a blizzard that also closed the campus to outside access. And I am certain that there was an incredible cold snap during finals week in January 1969. I had an 8 a.m. exam on the Engineering Quad and it was -30°F. I lived in an apartment on lower Thurston Ave. Tried to hitch a ride to campus. Nobody would stop—I guess for fear their car wouldn’t start again. I usually crossed the pedestrian suspension bridge to get to campus, but this day I went all the way up Thurston, desperately hoping for a ride that didn’t happen. As I crossed campus, I went into each building in turn, thus maintaining some semblance of body heat as I made my way to that awful final exam. This experience solidified my goal of graduate school in California.
Forest Preston III ’69
Redwood City, CA
In the mid-Sixties we had winter weather with snow and cold winds to the extent that students with cars could not get up into the lower parking lot, and few, if any, ventured out into the cold and snowy environment outside of the Law School campus. It was like being marooned. Luckily we had a dining hall within the campus and also a bottle club whose contents we all enjoyed.
Ed Bergmann, JD ’66
You had asked for more winter memories. Here’s one from 1925 on Beebe Lake.
Cliff Essman ’71
Owings Mills, MD
As a student from India, Cornell winter was quite an experience. On one especially cold night, I made a bet with my American friend and walked from Carpenter Hall to 304 College Avenue without any winter clothing—just in a plain shirt and trousers. It took some time before I got my shivering and numb limbs back to normal.
Yogesh Vani, MS ’64
Thanksgiving 1958: while it dropped twenty-four inches of snow we played with a red Frisbee in front of the University Halls. It would disappear into the snow, and ten seconds later reappear as it was thrown back. In 1968-69 I parked above Schoellkopf and the car had to be dug out frequently. Driving icy roads to my apartment was challenging, pointing the front wheels forward while the back ones were sliding toward the gutter.
Andrew Hospador ’62, BEE ’63, MEng ’69