Let’s travel back to a time when the month was March and snow was in the air: Wheeling, W.Va., in 1993.
Place the tape in the deck and press play.
Track One: Digable Planets – The Rebirth of Slick
There are common ties that bind Weelunkers to one another. Coleman’s Fish on Friday, fireworks at Oglebay, shortcuts through alleys, Fulton Dairy Queen and steak frys. There’s one that’s more relevant this time of year that I would like to focus on during this journey through Wheeling history. It’s the commonly held and righteously endorsed belief that, yes, March Sucks.
Track Two: 7 – Prince
Why does March Suck? The conviction is mostly inspired by the weather, but other factors contribute. We always experience a super dark and dreary Ohio Valley winter that sometimes starts around Halloween, let’s say lasting 120 days, during 30 of which one might catch a brief sighting of the sun. March usually brings some solar relief to the horror that is 0ur winter. In March we see the barren trees, the muddy yards and the “Valley Sludge,” (a unique mixture of salt, cinder, mud, leaves, Bud Light bottle caps, Schmuffin wrappers and shredded DiCarlos boxes).
We can deal with winter, we always have, but we survive it mainly by just pretending its not actually happening. We distract ourselves with things like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and maybe an occasional winter brirthday celebration or two. But by March, well … the distractions have petered out. Why don’t, (or didn’t), the Alpha, TJ’s, Wheeling Brewing Company, The Edge, The Swing Club, Mac’s Club, The Eagle, Wakim’s, Knotty Pines, Graceland, etc. … have a single window? Easy, so you don’t have to remember it’s winter while you are agressively working on forgetting winter.
Track Three: Blind Melon – Tones of Home
Above all, the piece de resistance of March is the Grand Tease. Like a mother’s nature allows her to forget the pain of childbirth so that she’ll agree to go through it again, Ohio Valleyians always forget March. When late February rolls around, it is easy to spot the expectation of a coming spring. Minit Carwash rakes it in, lawnmowers are dusted off, psychotic retirees appear on the front nine of Crispin ready to read putts through layers of frost, and Ziegenfelder Twin Pops cap off full Kroger buggies. ‘Good luck Wheeling,’ laughs March sinisterly, ‘Welcome to the reality of … ME!’
On March 7th, 1993, it was sunny, no clouds with temperatures in the low 50s …
Track Four: 1993 Storm of the Century Documentary
It has been 25 years since the “Storm of the Century,” A.K.A. “The Blizzard of ’93.” March 12, 1993, brought somewhere around 20 inches of snow to the Wheeling area. It was a Saturday; high school kids’ plans to pump Dr. Dre with their car windows down while driving along National Road were replaced with a weekend hunkering down with their parents watching Knots Landing — if they actually had power. True Value on Washington Avenue rushed the shovels back to the front of the store. John Domenick strapped on snow shoes and hiked to the WTRF studios to prepare for a career-making night. The Glassworks at Oglebay brought back “Wheeling Feelings” and disco to appease the stranded tourists. Stone and Thomas invented sales on women’s overcoats and galoshes. Wheeling adapted. Like Wheeling does every March. And March broke our hearts. Like it does every March.
Track Five: Indigo Girls — Galileo
Indeed, March Sucks in the Ohio Valley. Sure, if you lived in a warmer climate, March might be a pleasant experience for you. In like a lamb and out like a lamb, perhaps. But Wheeling is a special place full of special people. Despite the torturous nature of its least favorite month, there is a ubiquitous love for the third month of the year. How can that be?
Year after year those up and down 31 days of March provide Weelunkers with a sense of a hard-fought victory, and every year Mother Nature rewards us, with Spring, for without March, there is no April.