maxwell

Becky Maxwell is publisher of the Knoxville Journal-Express.

You might remember the big snowstorm that came through Iowa on April 9, 1973.

According to archived newspaper stories, the storm brought 12 inches of snow winds above 40 mph, causing drifts of more than 12 feet. All roads were shut down, and people were advised to wait 24 to 48 hours before traveling.

Concerns continued to grow as temperatures following the storm reached 50 degrees, causing the snow to melt quickly. Water already was running over saturated soil and pushed the Des Moines River five-and-a-half feet above flood stage.

Water levels in Bussey and Cedar Creek would rise eight feet over flood stage. Oskaloosa residents were warned that the South Skunk River would reach six feet above flood stage.

With the recent snow we’ve had in Iowa, it reminded me of a story my mother told me about the 1973 blizzard.

My mom had recently received her Licensed Practical Nurse certification and had about six months of experience. You might say she was still pretty green in her new occupation.

The night of the blizzard, my mom received a phone call that her neighbor had gone into labor. Knowing there was no way for the woman to make the eight-mile journey through drifting snow and closed roads to deliver the baby in town, my mom had no choice but to go over and help.

My dad took her to my neighbor’s house on a tractor. Luckily for my mom, another neighbor who was also a nurse had come over to help.

Neither of them had delivered a baby. They called Dr. Stephen Jewett, who gave them advice on how to deliver the baby.

Eventually, Jewett ventured out a snowmobile and arrived just in time to deliver a healthy baby girl.

Hopefully the winter weather is over, and hopefully we will not have to experience a blizzard similar to the one in 1973.

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