3 #GottaHave Items When Snow Falls in Pittsburgh

PittGirl solves the mystery of why most ‘Burghers absolutely, positively refuse to run out of these three essentials.




photo via flickr

“Milk, bread and toilet paper.”

“Milk, bread and toilet paper.”

It’s going to snow? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO GET SOME MILK, BREAD AND TOILET PAPER.

It’s something we laugh about here in Pittsburgh — our penchant for emptying the local Iggles of their milk, bread and toilet paper as soon as we hear Jeff Verszyla breathe the words “snow accumulation.”

Half an inch? Six inches? Two feet? Doesn’t matter. MILK. BREAD. TOILET. PAPER.

Do you already possess milk, bread and toilet paper? Better get some more. Because as God is our witness, we will not run out of milk, bread or toilet paper.

Why do we do this in Pittsburgh? Why do we fear a milk, bread and toilet paper shortage?

Why do we act as though running out of one, or God help us, all three of these items, will result in a postapocalyptic “Walking Dead”-type of scenario where we’re roaming the snow-covered streets, limbs aflopping, eyes dead, seeking out precious milk, bread and toilet paper?

Well, Pittsburgh, I think I solved this mystery, and you can thank my love of history.

With Buffalo currently buried under so much snow that the white stuff literally is busting in windows and doors all, “LET US IN. IT IS HELL OUT HERE,” I decided to do some research into Pittsburgh’s worst snowstorms. And it just so happened that yesterday my mother, who was born on Nov. 24, 1950, mentioned that the day she was born was the date of a truly awful snowstorm in Pittsburgh. (She is going to DESTROY me with verbal fire when she reads her birthdate on here.)

So I researched and, yep, Pittsburgh’s worst snowstorm began on Nov. 24, 1950, and would end with almost 3 feet of snow falling by the next day, despite an initial forecast of only 12 inches. 

The locals, who had yet to come up with witty terms such as  “Snowmaggedon,” dubbed the storm “The Big Snow.” Creative! 

Intrigued, I took to Google’s newspaper archives to hunt down the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s reporting of this storm, curious to see how the city reacted, how they dug out, how emergency services coped and how many days of school Pittsburgh kids missed. I saw this headline in the Nov. 28, 1950, edition of the Post-Gazette:
 


 

That’s good. Everyone has food.

But wait. Do you see that? “Milk was the one shortage that has hit all sections . . .” 

MILK. Was the ONE shortage.

Milk.

Then, later in the article, “Bread, which had been doled out in some stores . . .” 

Bread. All doled out.

Bread. 

It seems, Pittsburgh, that I may have stumbled upon the birth of our pre-snow milk, bread and toilet paper-buying practices!

Those who experienced The Big Snow (™ the very creative ’Burghers of 1950) experienced a milk and bread shortage and likely from that point on were very careful never to be caught in a snowstorm without milk and bread. Now, I hear you . . . “What about the toilet paper?” Well, there’s this line:
 


 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m listing the things we NEED, if we’re going to be snowed in for the next few days, toilet paper is damn sure going to be one of them. 

So those who had to venture out after the storm probably were grabbing some toilet paper and found the milk and bread aisles bare. When the next storm rolled around, regardless of the forecasted accumulation — they were wrong once; they could be wrong again — ’Burghers likely were proactive and said, “I’ll go get the milk, bread and toilet paper just to be safe” and did so for every storm thereafter. They passed that practice on to their children, so here we are in 2014, buying up all the milk, bread and toilet paper before any amount of snow hits. 

All because of The Big Snow of 1950. 

Mystery. Solved.

 

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from PittGirl:

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.
The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

Don't start shopping without this list of 10 locally made must-haves for Mom.
Drink It In: The Best Place to Get Drunk on Pittsburgh's History

Drink It In: The Best Place to Get Drunk on Pittsburgh's History

PittGirl shares the fascinating stories behind a chair, china, and a homemade toy.
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been lobbying for more direct service from Pittsburgh to the West Coast.
Zing Basket Promises Speedy Grocery Delivery to Your Door

Zing Basket Promises Speedy Grocery Delivery to Your Door

The online grocery delivery service opened this week, promising delivery in 45 minutes or less to selected neighborhoods.
Old Farmer’s Almanac: Winter in Pittsburgh Will Be Warmer, But…

Old Farmer’s Almanac: Winter in Pittsburgh Will Be Warmer, But…

In its 225th year, the reference book on weather suggests we tune up our snow-removal equipment.
Chris Jamison Releases His First EP

Chris Jamison Releases His First EP

The Ross native finished third on NBC's “The Voice” in December of 2014.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been lobbying for more direct service from Pittsburgh to the West Coast.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Where to Go at the Three Day Blow

Where to Go at the Three Day Blow

Our dining critic (and Three Day Blow organizing committee member) has a roundup of some open to the public events.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Comic Shops in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Comic Shops in Pittsburgh

These comic book shops offer more than just your casual Batman or Spider-Man choices.

Comments


New Industry Public House Location Up to Par

New Industry Public House Location Up to Par

If you’re in need of a dining option that’s not a national chain while visiting the Robinson area, this is one to keep in mind.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Le'Veon Bell Talks The Talk But Can’t Walk The Walk

Le'Veon Bell Talks The Talk But Can’t Walk The Walk

The Steelers running back emphasized his latest suspension resulted from missed random drug tests, and not a relapse into the marijuana-induced haze that got him jammed up last season. But if you lack the maturity to grasp the consequences of your actions (or, in this case, inactions), does it really matter?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Custom Made: The Surmesur Suit

Custom Made: The Surmesur Suit

Straight out of Canada, the custom menswear store opens its first U.S. location in Pittsburgh.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

Reviews of "Hands of Stone" and "Don't Breathe," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Lucky Ones: Katie Doré and John Potter

The Lucky Ones: Katie Doré and John Potter

Want even more Real Pittsburgh Weddings? We'll be bringing them to you throughout the fall, beginning with this lovely and lucky couple.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Put a Lid On It! The Container Store Coming to Pittsburgh

Put a Lid On It! The Container Store Coming to Pittsburgh

The store famous for carrying storage and organizational products is set to open at the revamped Block Northway in Ross Township.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

A fall visitation day and a Saturday information session aim to allow interested students a look into life at the university.

Comments

Edit Module