Welcome to a story by Ernie Nowatschka
Ernie Nowatschka shovelling coal to a Kiln
Claybank Brick Plant Site
Memories of a Blizzard by Ernie Nowatschka
It was one of those winters; we had a very bad blizzard, visibility was down to only about 20 feet and the wind howled for three days and nights. I was at work when the blizzard hit and could not get home nor expect anyone to come and relieve me in that 40° F below zero - life and death weather. Most firemen (the employees that fired and tended the kilns) lived miles from the Plant, on farms or in Avonlea. I was the only one living in Claybank and when I got to the Plant I couldn't leave, the boiler and one kiln needed attention. I did have company, my dog Tippy, the dog was always with me, a German Shepard Collie mix. The blizzard went on and on and I was worried about my family, my wife had no idea if I was still alive, as we had no phone at our house. After 2½ days Tippy and I were brought our first food. John Wostradowski who lived on the Site made the 300 yard trip to the Plant with a basket of food, although it may seem a short distance on a sunny day, during a Canadian blizzard it could mean your life. Tippy, of course got the first sandwich, one bite and it was gone. I was done in - out of energy, but we kept the fires going and after three days I was glad to see people again. Upon my departure in 1967, Mr. Welch conveyed his appreciation that I kept everything in good shape during the blizzard, it could have been costly for the company, with a kiln full of bricks ruined or frozen pipes. Having immigrated to Canada I have to say that compared to European weather that blizzard was the "real McCoy".