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A blizzard of kindness for a stranded family

Sheila and Frank Eisinger with their daughter, Joan,

Sheila and Frank Eisinger with their daughter, Joan, in 1964, a few weeks after being stranded on the Long Island Expressway. Photo Credit: Eisinger family

It was a Saturday in mid-January 1964. The weather had turned nasty. Snow was forecast, and we started for home after visiting with family in the city. Snow was beginning to fall.

I think our relatives asked if we wanted to stay over, but my husband, Frank, ever the optimist, said no, we were going back to Long Island.

Well, the snow didn't let up — as a matter of fact, it started to come down faster with bigger flakes. With some wind thrown in, this was turning into a major blizzard.

Fewer cars were now ahead of us to guide us with their taillights, and here and there cars had pulled over — drivers deciding to wait this out or abandon their cars and walk to the nearest safe haven.

Frank continued driving, and this was no longer an adventure; it was turning into a nightmare. The nightmare became a reality when Frank realized that snow was piling up in front of our car, and there were no highway trucks out clearing a lane in front of us.

The inevitable had hit us over the head. We had to stop. I was frightened, realizing that our car would get cold. It wasn't just the two of us — our 6-month-old daughter, Joan, needed to be fed and changed and kept safe.

By the way, I needed a bathroom by then, too. I leaned back and picked up Joan, kept her swaddled in my arms and wondered what would happen to the three of us that night.

We stopped under an overpass that offered a little shelter. Lucky for us, because we couldn't have gone another 10 feet. Joan, in my arms, was snug and warm in her blanket. While I sat in the car with the baby, Frank trudged out into the storm, climbed the embankment at the side of the Long Island Expressway and went to look for help.

To the right of us, we could see lights on in an office building, and that's where Frank headed. About 15 minutes must have passed, and Frank finally returned, telling me that we had been offered shelter at Alina, a Swiss tool company in Plainview.

Clutching Joan in my arms, we made our way carefully up the side of the expressway, into the warmth of an office building, which was crowded and open to stranded travelers all night.

When the managers saw our little baby, they gave us the president's office, where we stretched out on the floor for the night — safe and out of harm's way. Neither of us slept, but Joan had her bottle, was changed and went back to sleep.

The next day, the snow let up, highway crews were out, and we left our kind hosts and headed home. That was 50 years ago, but I'll never forget that night and the snow.

Sheila N. Eisinger,
St. James

 

'YOUNG MAN' HAS GOT TO GO

There is nothing that irritates my husband more than being referred to as "Young Man."

When did reference to a person's age become de rigueur for salespeople, maitre d's or other service people? "What can I do for you, Young Man?" Don't they realize that addressing a senior as such is not a compliment, but surely a mocking insult? They would only address a young boy this way — never anyone over the age of 12 — the actual young man.

My husband has tried to come up with an appropriate response without insulting the offender, but he hasn't been successful. Any suggestions?

By the way, I hate being called "Young Lady" as well!

Cindy Chase,
Bayside


NO GIRLS ALLOWED

Somewhere around the time I was 8 or 9, I was an ardent Brooklyn Dodgers fan. Before each home game, there was a program called "Happy Felton's Knothole Gang." Three or four boys would be on Ebbets Field, home of the Dodgers, and would throw and catch with a Dodgers player.

I felt I was as good, if not better, than many of the boys. So I wrote to Happy Felton, asking how to be on his show. His response was that you had to be on a Little League team. I wrote to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of Little League, to inquire how to get on a team. The response was, "There are no Little League teams for girls."

How unfair is that? There were no words for the anger I felt. I suppose it was my first taste of being discriminated against and probably fostered my becoming a feminist. Certainly in Brooklyn, in the early '50s, opportunities for girls in sports were nonexistent.

As a side note, when I was heading the Suffolk County Softball Officials, I got a phone call from Williamsport, telling me the first World Series for women's softball was being held in Nassau County. I was asked to provide three officials for this event.

How sweet it was!

Terry Fishberg,
Westbury

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