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Bob Lind, Published May 01 2012

Lind: A light in the blizzard

We’re into spring now. But Neighbors is looking back to a past winter storm: the killer March 15, 1941, blizzard, because it never leaves the memories of those who went through it.

Neighbors has carried several stories about it, most recently one from a man who was a youngster on a Grafton, N.D., farm when it hit.

Now Margaret Warcken, Jamestown, N.D., sends along her memories of that awful storm.

She was 15 then, living on the farm home of her parents, Charlie and Ruth Weber, four miles north of Verona, N.D., along state Highway 1.

March 15, 1941, “was a beautiful day” at first, she writes. However, “Our artesian well was putting out murky water, so my dad had to go across the highway to our neighbors, Walter and Berniece Ragan, to get water for us to drink."

It was starting to get dark when Charlie returned.

"Dad had barely stepped in the house when the wind hit, and you couldn’t see across the road,” Margaret says.

“I remember Mother set a lighted lamp on the fern stand in the picture window that faced the highway, if it might help somebody in trouble.”

Margaret doesn’t recall anyone coming to the house. But her family was ready, a typical gesture of area residents who were and are ready to assist someone in need.

Many were, that terrible day in 1941. More than 70 people in the Dakotas and Minnesota died in that blizzard, and who knows how many others would have lost their lives but for people like Margaret’s parents, who were ready to offer shelter to someone caught in it.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com