How did people cope when they were stuck in their homes during the blizzard? In order to find out I made several telephone calls to friends in New York during last week's snowstorm.
The first call I made was to Bob Simon who lives in Monsey. Mrs. Simon answered the phone. "He's outside. I'll call him." Ten minutes later, Simon got on the phone huffing and puffing.
"What are you doing?" I asked him.
"Shoveling the !!!!!! driveway so I can get the car out."
"You're not goint to drive today?"
"Got to Got to get to the store if it kills me."
"My wife's out cigarettes. She's afraid she's going to die if she doesn't get a cigarette."
"That bad, huh?"
"She's suckinb on a strand of raw spaghetti now, but she says it isn't the same thing. She tried to make a cigarette out of oregano leaves, but they wouldn't stay in the newspaper."
"Suppose the store isn't open when you get there?"
"She told me to smash the windows and loot."
"But you could get prison for that."
"She says it doesn't matter. She says she'll bring the kids up every Saturday to visit me, as long as I get her the cigarettes. I've got to go. She's rifling through the garbage compactor to see if she can find a butt."
"Let her do it," I said.
"This is the third time she's gone through it. She found all the butts on the first go-round. She won't believe there aren't any left."
"Okay," I said. "And have a nice day."
The second call I made was to a friend on Long Island. His wife told me he didn't make it home and was stuck at the Waldorf Astoria. I called my friend at the Waldorf Astoria.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
"It's terrible," he said. "I tried to make the 3:45 from Penn Station but it was canceled. So I had to get a room here. I never lived through anything like this. Wait a minute, there's room service."
He went off the phone and I heard him say to someone, "Honey, did you want red wine or white wine with your chicken?" Then he came on again. "So like I said, no one can move. All we can do is wait it out. I could be here for days. Hold it will you? . . . Honey, turn down the TV set, will you? . . . You're lucky you aren't here. I wouldn't wish this on anyone . . . Not too much ice, Sweetie . . . I'll never forgive the Long Island Railroad for what they did to me last night."
"Well, at least you're safe," I said.
"If you call sharing a room at the Waldorf Astoria with a salesman from Syracuse during the worst blizzard in 20 years 'being safe,' then you don't know anything about snowstorms. Listen, I have to go now . . . my turtle soup is getting cold."
The last call I made was to my sister in Kew Gardens.
"Edith, are you all right?"
"I wouldn't know."
"Why, where is he?"
"He's right here."
"If he's right there how come you don't know?"
"We haven't been talking for two days. As long as you're on the phone tell him that dinner is ready if he wants some."
Harold came on the phone. I said, "Edith says dinner is ready."
"Tell her I'm not hungry," he replied.
Edith came on the phone. I told her, "He says he's not hungry."
She said, "Tell him that's too damn bad."
"Hey, listen, I'm calling long distance. I just wanted to find out how both of you were."
"Wonderful," she replied. "Being stuck in your apartment for two days in a snowstorm with your hushand is the next best thing to having a second honeymoon."