The trouble with memory is that it is not very accurate. We usually only remember extreme or special events.
This might help - January snowfall for Joliet, IL since 1943. It looks like 2012 was quite a high snowfall year, and nothing outstanding in the 50's or 60's.
I don't know where you are exactly, but you can look it up at the link.
That chart is suspicious. NR for January 1979 snow. Chicago had a 20+ inch snowstorm that year.
Right now I’m in PA. Back in the 50s/50s, I was in NW suburbs (Arlington Hts) of Chicago (1955-1967).
On that chart, a few NRs, besides 0”-14” yrs. I can’t get to AH’s page, since I’m not ‘signed-up’. AH wasn’t that far north of Joliet, but I do remember the continual snow covers. Not sure I trust their numbers. I also do remember the ‘57, ‘62 & ‘67 blizzards, before we moved to NJ.