The Winter of 1949 in Ballinger Texas
I had just turned eight years old when the ice storm hit Ballinger Texas in 1949. At the time I thought it was the best thing that had happened since Christmas. S cheap ugg boots chool was turned out because of the ice.
I have looked back over the years and wondered how some of the people survived that long cold winter with no more than they had.
In late January daddy came in from work and called the family together cheap ugg boots for a talk. He told us the radio was predicat cheap ugg boots ing a severe storm was coming our way. He thought we would be alright but we were going to have to get ready for it.
My job was to find all the burlap sacks and news papers I could gather up to be used to wrap the water pipes with. Daddy and my brother started wrapping the pipes under the house while Mama and I wrapped the out side faucets and pipes. To this day I don’t think there is a better insulation than news papers, burlap bags and bailing wire.
Daddy went next door to Mrs. Cross’s house to help her get things in order. She was a widow woman and had no family close by. Her heat was from a pot bellied wood stove in the living room. My brother and I were sent out to cut more fire wood for her and get it stacked up in the house so she wouldn’t have to go outside. She had no running water in the house so we filled all the containers she could gather up.
When we were finished with Mrs. Cross we checked on the two Woods Sisters. They were in pretty good shape as they had gas in the house and four gas heaters to keep them warm. Their water pipes were already insulated so we headed home.
The storm hit some time during the night with a roar like a lion. Daddy had the stoves going in the kitchen and living room full blast. About six in the morning we had all gotten up to huddle around the stoves. My bed was in the living room but it was warmer out of bed.
When day light finally came we were amazed at how much ice there was on every thing. The storm was still in full force and it seemed to be getting colder. The electricity went off about ten that morning and we were worried the das might go off.
The ice covered the North and East sides of our four room house. The windows had so much ice on them you couldn’t see out them. The tree limbs started breaking and it sounded like gun shots at times. We had a big pecan that had limbs hanging over the house and Daddy was worried a limb would break and come through the roof. The Lord took care of us as no limbs were broken on the tree
The storm went on all that day and night. It finally broke about seven the next morning leaving a sheet of ice two to four inches thick on every thing it could get to.
Later that morning we went out to check for damages to our house. We were very lucky as we couldn’t find anything wrong with our house or Mrs. Cross’s house. The Wood’s Sisters house had two big limbs on the roof but it didn’t hurt anything.
Daddy said the temperature was zero about twelve that day. The temperature stayed below freezing for nine days before it started to thaw out.
About the only thing moving were people who still had their horses and wagons. Daddy still had Blue and Blackie so we could at least get out and help other people who needed it. Daddy and some of the men got together and cut wood for the people who weren’t able to do it for themselves.
The cars back then had six volt electric system on them and it wasn’t the most reliable thing around. In the cold those old batteries lost all their power and the cars were pushed to get them started. Most people drained the water out of the motors to keep them from freezing and busting the engine block,
Daddy and the men worked together to help repair the homes for those that had to have help. One family had a large hole in the roof and some of the windows were brok cheap ugg boots en. Nearly all the houses were box houses at the time. There were just a few houses that had studs in the walls in town. A box house is just one by twelve boards put up to form a wall. The cracks had two inch wide boards over them.
Daddy said I could go and join the other kids playing on the ice. There were several small hill around town so we got a car hood and used it to go down the slopes. It was a lot of fun until the hood veered off and hit a tree or highline pole.
My cousin and I went to the Abilene Southern Rail Road tracks to play on the slope where the tracks were higher.
I don’t remember any one getting killed in the storm or if they did Daddy never said anything about it. I enjoyed that winter spell but I wouldn’t want to go through it again knowing what I know now. Looking back we all had to be under God’s protective arm that winter.