Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NOSTALGIC TRIP IN SNOW by Marion Ekholm


Murial’s post got me thinking about snow and school cancellations and freezing cold birthdays. I’m from Connecticut so I can remember all those days when my brother, Jim, and I longed for snow and a chance to stay home from school. Our cancellations came over the radio, and we were up early listening to all the schools that were closed, praying that ours would be one of the lucky ones. No one ever considered that we’d be making the days up in June and suffering in the heat without air-conditioning.

 We built forts. I’d have mine on one side of the driveway, and Jim had his on the other. It was such fun, tossing snow balls at each other, our cheeks all red from the cold. Then we’d take our sleds and slide down the snow covered street before the snow melted and patches of black asphalt appeared.

My sixteenth birthday came on a Friday in early November, and I was supposed to go to the movies that night to celebrate. It snowed and snowed and snowed. It was the first time I could remember ever getting snow that early. School was cancelled, and Jim was home sick. He couldn’t enjoy the free day, nor could he do his paper route.

So on my BIRTHDAY, I was forced to spend hours hiking through hip high snow to deliver those papers. Obviously, the movies were out since the only vehicle able to get through the storm had been that darn newspaper truck. I was furious. After I spent the whole afternoon delivering those papers, I had a long discussion with my brother and mother. From that time on they found someone else to take over the route whenever Jim got sick.   

At college in Providence, the traffic stopped on College Hill once we had snow. Students from all the neighboring colleges took advantage and slid down the hill, usually on trays from the various cafeterias. So Murial, stealing trays for sledding must be a universal occurrence. One time a group of guys from Brown University stopped at our dormitory and threw snowballs at our building. We girls enjoyed the spectacle from the safety of the second floor.

When I moved to my job in New York City, I became active with a group of skiing enthusiasts. I loved it and looked forward to every weekend on the slopes. I preferred the Bunny trails, the ones meant for the inexperienced. I can still remember my fiancĂ© insisting I was better than that and needed to go on more advanced slopes. We went on the ski lift together, and he pointed out the path below that I needed to take. I followed him down the steep incline. Halfway through the run, I panicked. But if I stopped, I’d never get off the mountain without the help of a helicopter. I made it, lost all my love for skiing and never went skiing again.

Years later, now married to the same guy, we went on skimobiles with my husband driving and my son sitting on the back holding onto his father. My daughter and I were in a special sled pulled behind. He went so fast. My daughter, and I bounced all over the place, desperately holding onto the edges for some balance. I screamed at him to slow down, but he couldn’t hear me over the sound of the machine. Once he did stop, I found a long branch to take with me and hit him with it whenever I wanted his attention.

I’ve never been fond of the cold, although in my youth I tolerated it. For the past twenty plus years I’ve enjoyed the absence of snow in sunny Arizona. No more black ice, freezing toes or scraping ice off the windshield. Winter has arrived here. The temperature has dipped below 80, and I’ve had to get my warm clothing out.    

Thank you Murial, for reminding me about all those memories of fun in the snow. I’ve enjoyed the nostalgic trip in the safety of my warm office and hope I’ll never see snow again. 

16 comments:

  1. Marion, I also grew up in Connecticut but now live in Florida. I couldn't imagine dealing with snow! When it gets in the sixties we think it's the end of the world. LOL. I have fond memories of sledding and ice skating, but like you, don't miss the snow.

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    1. Where in Connecticut? I'm from Plainville, a small town between Bristol and New Britain. Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. Although I went to college in Vermont, I'm not fond of snow. My friends would all pull out their skis and sleds...and, I'd wave "bye" while sitting in front of the fireplace with my book and hot chocolate.

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    1. I could see one of the Vermont ski slopes from where I lived in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the year I lived there we only had rain so my daughter, who was on the ski team in high school, had to ski on ice. So glad you came by.

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  3. I'm loving these snow day memories! But since I'm in Michigan, I'll stick to the memories rather than the realities. LOL
    Marion, I can just picture you swatting your husband with that stick. Too funny! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Once I had that branch he paid more attention to us so I never had to use it. He loved the snow and never got cold. Michigan, with the lake affect would be way too cold for me. Thanks for your comments.

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  4. I loved skiing when I was younger and my bones didn't object to the cold. In Washington state the fun thing was night skiing at Snoqualmie Pass. We'd get off work, pack skis, kids and food and off we'd go. It was cold, crisp and clear most of the time and even if it snowed the lights on the ski runs made it magical. I had to give it up when my joints objected. But Marion, it's not been so warm in sunny So. AZ these last few days. We had frost the last 2 mornings when I went for my walk. I dug out my ski hat and gloves so my ears didn't freeze. Happy to give snow over to the kids who love it, though.

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    1. You're so right. Since we had three days of rain, the weather turned cold. I can't imagine going on skis again. The knees suffer the most, and what was difficult back in my twenties would be impossible now.
      Thanks for your comments.

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  5. Growing up in Newfoundland and now living in Edmonton, I just can't escape SnowDays lol But I love it:) At least in Alberta it is sunny for most of the winter, so while we do suffer through several weeks of minus 40 Celsius weather in January, the sun's out-who can complain lol:)

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    1. I got a chill just thinking of minus 40 Celsius. And a sunny winter probably isn't more than a few hours a day in Alberta. It's amazing to me how we're able to adjust to our environments. I still prefer the summer heat in Arizona. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. What wonderful memories, Marion. Oregon is a great place to be because we get the change of seasons, but snow once or twice a winter is about it. Good thing in hilly Astoria because snow brings traffic and usually commerce, too, to a stop. I love the stick to prod your husband with, also. But, unlike Jen in Edmonton, we don't see much sun in the winter - although this year has been unlike any we've ever seen. Less rain and more sun than I can ever recall. Hope it keeps up! Thanks, Marion. That was fun.

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    1. I spent one winter in Oregon, about 45 miles east of Portland. I took my husband to the Oregon airport once when it snowed and couldn't believe the icy conditions. It took hours to get back home with several tractor trailers jackknifed on the highway. Hope you never have that problem. It was fun following through and matching your memories with mine.

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  7. I'm from Nebraska and snow didn't bother me. I still miss it, but I've lost the ability to drive in it.

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  8. Love the snowy memories! I live in Chicago and I like one nice snow a year but then I wish it would go away. Usually, I am not that lucky. Someday I hope to move someplace where we only have to worry about dipping below 80! LOL

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  9. I like to LOOK at snow, but my memories of walking to school in Kansas in the toe-freezing stuff are enough to keep me from wanting to live through cold winters again.

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  10. We have snow on the ground here in upstate NY and the landscape will look this way until April *sigh* . Someday I hope to move south, but for now, I'm enjoying it.... at least for the holiday season :) Oh- and I'm escaping to Disney in March- so that will be a fun break!

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