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Postcard from Syracuse

by Teresa Bell

Posted on February 16, 2007 at 9:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:45 PM

The following blog entry is from Jen Gramer, a journalism student at Syracuse University who is from Portland:

When people warned me of the treacherous winters that plague central New York, I used to brush them off with a simple: Thanks for your concern, but I am originally from Idaho. I know what snow is.


Now, as a freshman experiencing her first winter at Syracuse University in New York, my concept of the word SNOWSTORM has been changed and I have picked up a new phrase: the dreaded LAKE EFFECT SNOWSTORM.

After a fairly mild December and January, I delighted in the assumption that I had evaded the notorious Northeastern winters, and was amused by the irony that even mild Portland had received snow before Syracuse. But my luck was cut short by the massive snowstorm that hit Syracuse Wednesday, dumping feet of snow and bringing with it below-freezing temperatures and winds that literally took my breath away.


Despite the Life Goes On approach that most Syracusans have adopted, classes at the University were cancelled on Wednesday for the first time since 1993.

But a rather nonchalant outlook noticeably permeated every other aspect of existence here, with most people operating their cars despite the fact that the vehicles were buried under several feet of snow, and a number of people walking around casually as if nothing but a bothersome snow flurry had hit the city.

While I respect this blase attitude towards massive amounts of snow, the Oregonian in me decided it was best to get on my flannel pajamas, make some tea, and settle in for a day of reading and movies. My favorite part of the day, however, was watching students trek back across the campus from their cancelled classes, and trying to pick out the West Coast kids and the native Northeasterners. While the Californians, Washingtonians and Oregonians were busy gawking at the huge snowdrifts, cameras in hand, students from the Northeast simply trudged through the whiteness, wearing expressions that read clearly: Not again, what a pain.

Jen Gramer
Syracuse, New York