P81230It was one of the more common types of snow in the Santa Clara Valley in the early 1970s.
In school, we made paper snow by folding paper squares in half and then into thirds (so that they were folded into sixths), and then cutting notches and slices out of them. They unfolded into the prettiest and laciest snowflakes!
In Westgate Mall, snow was blown by small fans about the new models of Singer sewing machines that were magically suspended in big acrylic spheres. We children could not get into the spheres, so were left wondering if the snow within was as cold and wet as we were told it was, and why it was necessary to demonstrate that the new sewing machines were resistant to weather. Our mother did her sewing inside.
We sort of suspected that the snow around the Nativity at Saint Thomas of Canterbury and other local parishes might be artificial because it looked like the stuffing of a pillow, which is something that all children seem to be familiar with. We said nothing about it, just in case our parents were not aware of the potential deception. However, it was rather disturbing to see so much of the same sort of snow at Christmas in the Park in San Jose. At that point, we accepted that either it must be genuine, or that we were committed to just going along with it.
Snow that was sprayed onto Christmas trees was rather interesting. It was neither wet nor cold, and sometimes it wasn’t even white. It could be pastel blue or pink, and was often sparkly with glitter! Wow!
Off in the distance, we could see snow on top of Mount Hamilton. Sometimes it was just on top. Sometimes, it was spread out from left to right, along the ridge. On rare occasion, snow appeared on the ridge of the East Hills, in front of the Diablo Range that Mount Hamilton is part of. We never saw who was up there folding and cutting all that snow, but they must have been VERY busy!
Snow on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains, right behind our part of the Santa Clara Valley, was closer to home, but did not look like much. The greenish blue of the forest was just a lighter hue of blue, with more mottling. It was exciting anyway.
Then, on February 5 in 1976, it actually SNOWED on the floor of the Santa Clara Valley!
It really was as awesome as snow was supposed to be. It was cold. It was wet. It was white. It was fun to wad up and throw at each other. It accumulated just like it would in a blizzard, and got almost an inch deep!
. . . but . . . was it really SNOW?P81230+

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18 thoughts on “Electric Snow

    1. When I saw snow in the Siskiyous, I was afraid to drive in it. I pulled off, and thought I was stuck. It was about an inch and a half deep. How embarrassing. It snowed a few times at my home near the summit, but it did not stay on the ground. At the time, my shower was inside a burned out redwood stump, without a roof. I did not care if rain came into the shower and got the water wet, but snow was . . . weird.

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  1. Growing up in Nebraska, snow was a big part of my life. Here in Oklahoma it is a novelty. We almost always get a few inches a couple of times in winter, but it melts quickly. It’s magical to me… it seems to quiet everything in nature – like a blanket of beauty and serenity.

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    1. That is how I thought of it when it fell for the first phase at the end of 2012 . . . but then it didn’t melt right away. There was not much of it. It was not much more than two inches deep. Yet, it was remarkably messy where it did lingered. It got all muddy, and got tracked everywhere. I remember trying to maintain a good impression when walking into the office of the Norman Transcript on East (?) Comanche Street for a job, and leaving a trail of muddy red slush. I think it snowed again while we were there, but we left before winter really got started.

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  2. Weather is so different west of the Mississippi and even more different west of the Rockies. I’d have to relearn how to read the sky out there, so can sympathize with your childhood puzzlement about the varieties of snow, real and fake. Your memories took me back to childhood puzzlements of my own.

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