The shivering, the waiting, never-ending cleanup and less than ideal circumstances for almost everyone in town following the 2011 October snowstorm was pretty much miserable. And the search for gas, throwing out tons of food, lack of phone service and constant missed deadlines of CL&P were no fun either.
But in the midst of what might have been a wretched time, many in town found a way to savor the time spent with family and neighbors and to offer and appreciate the kindness of others.
We asked Farmington Patch readers on Facebook to share some of their stories and how they coped. We loved their stories and found their experience sounds much like our own.
Lianne O'Leary We, too, ate at George's and were welcomed in just to keep warm, be with others that were also in the dark and cold. Although we did not have our annual Halloween, the gentlemen at Tunxis Hose were amazing! They still opened their doors for the annual costume contest, filled our children's pumpkins with candy and went above and beyond providing a pasta, salad and bread dinner for all who came out! We were blessed to spend a couple of hours in light and warmth. Children and parents were happy! We were without power for 7 days and also had the opportunity to shower, warm up and have a cup of coffee at the Farmington High School. Last year's October snow storm gave my family another reason to say, we are proud to be a part of this beautiful, selfless community!
Kay Higgins We shared stories of "Colonial Days" with the kids, to keep things in perspective, and became very creative with our neighbor's grill, even cooking a potato casserole their daughter dubbed "lights out potatoes". On Halloween, the same neighbors came over for a "party". The kids put on their costumes and went outside to knock on the door and shout "trick or treat!", then I closed the door so they could do it again...5 more times! I would love to forget the ice-cold showers I took then, and the sleepless nights listening to the creaking trees, but, overall, we were very lucky to have had very little damage to our home, considering. I hope I didn't just jinx myself for this season!
Richard Scalzo Jr We are a family that likes camping, so at first we were into "roughing it" using our Coleman propane stove and lantern. As the temperature dropped in the house and hot (warm) water ran out, my family was lucky enough to stay with relatives in Rocky Hill, who got their power back sooner. I stayed with the house, wanting to be sure all was well if the power came back, and to keep our cat company. My down sleeping bag kept me warm, but the sound of neighborhood generators rumbled through the nights. Electricity came back after eight days.
Eleni Kavros DeGraw We were nine days without power. We stayed in our home for 4 using our woodstoves and melting the snow from the roof so that we would have enough water to flush the toilet. Thankfully, I got gas before the storm so we would occasionally retreat to the car with the three kids to watch DVDs. We eventually bailed to the Farmington Marriott (once they got their power back) because we were running out of melted snow for the toilets!
Peg Guertin Schubach Out 11 days, had my sister and her family and my mom for a total of 11 people under one roof with a generator. Cooked as much as we could on the gas grill. My poor mother was shaking by the time her power came on as she was left with kids from age 2 to 13 at times as the rest of us tried to go to work (we had two hospital employees in our number and you know those don't shut down). I think the highlight of the week was Thursday night hubby figured out how to get one of the TVs plugged into some generator power source so we could watch college football. We had it easier than many though as the generator was wired into the furnace so we had hot water all through. I think all the snow was actually melted before the power came back on!
Robin Bangham My son and I lived at FHS for 8 days! Was grateful to all the volunteers who helped us all during that very difficult time!
Carole Annitto King A usual evening in our house is me working in my home office till all hours of the night with absolutely no communication with my husband. I can tell if my husband’s favorite sports team is winning or losing by his screams. The first 3 days with no power was absolutely glorious. We cleared debris and cut down trees together, cooked dinners on our gas grill and spent evenings talking and laughing in the candlelight. After 3 days we got a generator and my husband asked me which outlets were most important to me. Outlets for computer and cell phone I exclaimed!! Once I was connected, it was back to selling real estate and ignoring my husband.
Ken Lipshez We were without power for more than 9 days in Lake Garda. Since we have well water, we learned to flush the toilet with a bucket of water. We used all the snow in the backyard then went to fill buckets at the lake. We were gouged for firewood by someone in Southington at $1 a piece. We cooked on the grill and over the hearth while we listened to the radio, played card games by candlelight and waited patiently for power to be restored. We didn't diss the power company nor blame anyone else for our travails. As it turns out, we are stronger for it and we learned something -- how to flush the toilet with a bucket of water.
Sue Anne Ward I won't bore you with the details of 12 days with absolutely no power or water but I will say that I witnessed so many kind and wonderful things in Unionville during those trying days. It brought out the best in most people.