Remembering the snows of yesteryear

  • Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 9:30 a.m.

Sleet fell, without a break all night. It was the evening of March 1, 1960 but labor pains were keeping me awake. The doctor had told me a day earlier that it would be two more weeks before I would give birth to my first child; that, however was not to be.

My husband, the Rev. Harold Jones, and I were living in a rural area near Belton, S.C., and of course were not experienced in dealing with snow and sleet. He pastored a small Baptist Church, and I taught English at an area High School.


The next morning everything was covered by a thick layer of snow mixed with sleet. Harold went out and warmed up the old Packard and we made our way slowly to the Anderson Hospital , some 15 miles away.

Dr. Hand said, “It’s going to be a few hours. You can go home for awhile and come back this afternoon or you can stay now.” Naïve and nervous, we decided to go home.

About 5 miles from home, that beloved Packard broke down, stranding us in the snow (which in my memory was 3 feet deep). Fortunately a couple living nearby came to our rescue and we finally stumbled back into the parsonage at Neal’s Creek Baptist Church

We rested a couple hours and returned to the hospital. Later, in the maternity ward I heard a voice screaming, “Help me! Someone please help me!” Very quickly I realized that the screamer was me. That is, it was “I.” The 7 pound sweetie was born about 9:30 p.m. on March 2, 1960.

My husband and I had been joking about a name for the baby. Meanwhile, we had been choosing shrubbery to go in the yard of the church’s newly completed parsonage.

“Burfidy holly sounds pretty,” I had said.

Instead, we had chosen Emily Jenan for our darling little one. Emily, oddly enough, was Harold’s father first name. I had known a beautiful teenager named Jenan a few years earlier. Throughout the last 50 years, my Jenan has had a love-hate relationship with her moniker. Nowadays she does a lot of writing and calls herself “JJ Benson” — Jenan Jones Benson.

The night she was born, the weather did not improve. That night my private room on the maternity ward housed a new mother — me — and a new father — the Rev. Harold jones. He had curled up in a corner and ended up sleeping there for three or four nights. Finally, the nurses stopped pretending he wasn’t there and sent him home.

Those of a certain age remember that we had a significant snow again the next Wednesday. Although I’m not positive, I think that day, March 9, was when “Jani” and I went home. Again, on March 16, we had snow.

My first baby and I always look forward with amusement to hearing Carolinians ask each other, “Do you remember the March when it snowed every Wednesday?”

I remember only three snow Wednesdays, but then I was a bit preoccupied.

Bettye Ellison Jones lives in Kannapolis.

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