WINDHAM — The little plaque with the familiar saying in the living room at the Rosinskis home on Flat Rock Road reads: "Home is where the heart is."
In the wake of Thursday's ice storm, more and more people are starting to think "Home is where the Heat is."
As of yesterday afternoon, the Rosinskis were undecided about staying put in their powerless home for another night.
Their neighbors, Tony and Dot Lapadula, also without power, had already decided to leave. They backed their car out of the driveway around noon, bound for their daughter's home in Haverhill, Mass.
"It's warm, and there is a shower," said Dot.
Lucille Rosinski said she and her husband, Daniel, planned to stay put "unless it gets really bad."
Methuen, Mass. resident Linda Steffen also spent Friday night in a cold house.
"See my breath?" the Oakside Avenue resident said while standing outside Ted's State Line Mobil on Route 28 in Methuen yesterday. "That's what you see in my house."
Steffen took her generator out of storage yesterday and fueled it up. Before that, she and her family heated water on their gas stove to create steam and some heat, she said.
Some people didn't have the option of staying home and were making the best of their new circumstances.
Clara Longworth, 88, of Salem left her home yesterday for the Salem High School shelter because she needed electricity to power her oxygen machine and needed to keep warm.
"It would be either here or the hospital," she said.
Longworth cheered and clapped for a young boy taking shots at a nearby basketball hoop. A woman sitting next to her also had an oxygen machine plugged into the school's electric power.
In Haverhill, Mass., Paige Ouellette and her friend Caylay Casui, both 17, wore their pajamas as they walked out of the emergency shelter at the Citizen Center on Welcome Street carrying a handful of pillows and blankets yesterday morning.
"I slept on a pool table last night," said Ouellette, who still didn't have electricity at her home in Bradford, one of the areas of town hit hardest by dropping tree limbs and falling icicles.
The two Haverhill High seniors and about six of their friends threw a slumber party on Friday night in the basement of the city's shelter. The teens bunked in a separate room from the near-dozen additional occupants.
"It was fun," said Ouellette, who like so many made the best of things after the storm.
"I was supposed to be in 'A Christmas Carol' at the high school today," she said. "Now I don't know what I'm going to do all day."
Ouellette's father, Vincent Ouellette, is Haverhill's director of human services and is responsible for running the emergency shelter.
He said about 15 or 16 people came to the shelter on Friday night, and area hotels are booked with Haverhill residents, all the way to Amesbury.
"Everyone is pitching in. One person brought doughnuts — we have soup too," he added.
Harry Merrill Jr., an elderly man who lives at the Churchill Court Apartments, sat sipping his soup at a cafeteria-style table in the Haverhill shelter yesterday.
"When I woke up yesterday morning, I checked the thermostat and it was 50 degrees," he said. "I don't know what I'll do tonight."
While many people went to the shelters, some of those without power traveled to local gyms to use the shower or to work out frustration from the cold.
"We have a lot of people who are frustrated and came in just to blow off steam," said Kaitlin Quigley, an employee at Planet Fitness in Salem.
Six women were waiting in line to take cold showers around 2 p.m., she said. The phone had been ringing constantly all day, calls from people who wanted to know if the club had hot water.
With power out at many area gas stations, those that were able to open also did brisk business.
As many as 150 cars stretched a quarter of the mile down Main Street to gas up at the Exxon Mobil in Haverhill on Friday.
"Most stations don't have power," said Mobile manager Wayne Fontze. "Yesterday, only three were open, including us."
Friday was "really, really busy" at Ted's State Line Mobil as well, but things quieted down a bit yesterday. People stocked up on ice, coffee, cigarettes, water and snacks, cashier Nate Ratliff said.
Brian Hooper of Windham, N.H. drove to the Loop in Methuen to shop for food, then filled three containers of gas at Ted's State Line Mobil to keep his generator powered. He couldn't find an open gas station or grocery store any closer to home, he said.
Restaurants with power were also faring well, since so many people were without electricity and unable to cook.
Big Daddy's sandwich shop on Broadway in Salem was doing a booming business. Every table but one was occupied about 2:15 p.m., and people were lined up at the counter to order. Only one of two phones was working, but it appeared to be busy enough for two.
Owner Evan Tasiopoulos said customers were eating in the restaurant and then taking to-go orders with them when they left.
Sitting in the corner, Linda Gallant and her daughter, Renee, 9, were eating out after some experimental cooking at home the night before.
They cooked Hamburger Helper on the grill outside their house. It tasted better than it did the last time they cooked it, in a traditional manner, Renee said.
With many Haverhill eateries — and homes — still without power, Ken's NY Deli, at 1185 Main St., accommodated a larger-than-usual turnout of more than 60 customers yesterday, co-owner Ardit Kraja said.
"They started coming in at 7 a.m., and I still have a full house. At one point, we had 60 or 70 people here at once, with a table wait of 45 minutes," he said, adding that he was closed Friday. "I hope it makes up for yesterday."
Back in Windham, in a rented weekly room at the Manor Motel, the Macdonald family was living off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk. They had no power and no water.
The two children, Kevin, 15, and Ryan, 12, were making forts out of cardboard boxes in the living room and then wrestling.
"They are actually talking," said their mom, Anne. Usually, the children would be immersed in computer games, she said.
Anne said she was giving some thought to bringing her children to the shelter in town, at the Center School, at least for some warm food and a hot shower.
The biggest living challenge at the motel was not being able to use their bathroom. Kevin had to gather buckets of water so they could flush the toilet.
But the Macdonalds said they were making the best of a difficult situation.
"I'm like, this is what it is, so let's just deal with it," Anne said.
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