Glorious Snow 1948

Winter Memories….
Excerpted from January 25, 1974
The year is hurrying by again, cut into snippets by weekends and chores. Whatever happens to one’s perspective of time? When I was a child, summer stretched before me like an ocean, vast and uncharted. I swam in faith, like Columbus. Eventually, of course, the warm land of summer would give way to rain and wind, rubber boots, and school bells.
But there was always Christmas, when the Sears catalog people might bring riches to our doorstep. Or failing that, unknown aunts and uncles, ancient relatives forgotten or believed dead, would clog the mail with packages for our delight. This could be the year!
Of course, it wasn’t, as such expectations are dashed by the iron boot of reason. But there was one magical season. Not Christmas, but New Year’s.
It began on a cold, dark day when I accompanied my father and stepmother to a New Year’s Eve party. The bells rang at midnight, and everyone ran outside, banging pans, and blowing whistles. I didn’t join them but searched the sky.
“Don’t be silly,” my father said as I explained myself. “It isn’t going to snow.”
“Yes, it is. It is! See, there’s one! There’s more! Oh, yes! It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” I spun around, arms outstretched in welcome.
And snow it did. It was 1948, the year of the Big Snow! In fact, it snowed so much Daddy was barely able to drive me home to Mama. All through the valley, schools were closed! How wonderful! An extra two weeks of vacation. My neighborhood pals and I were delirious with joy. Snow forts were constructed and snow balls stockpiled for red-cheeked combat. We ran and slid on the tracks left by automobiles. Those who owned sleds generously shared with the less fortunate.
We scorned plowed roads for travel, opting instead to lurch in and out of huge snowdrifts that were at least 4 feet deep. It took us an hour to go two blocks—red-faced, breathless with laughter, and the effort of pulling each other out of holes. But we triumphed, picking up Nature’s gauntlet while older folks, who’d forgotten what life was all about, grumbled, and walked on scraped, flat sidewalks.
We played at night, racing over the white fairyland, making snow angels, creeping about woodpiles transformed into mountains—drunk with laughter and running. Each night, to the last child, we prayed for more snow. We couldn’t get enough of it!
But, inevitably, the thaw came. A gloomy drip of eaves marked the change, sending icicles and spirits plummeting. Adults wore superior smiles, remarking that the bad spell was done, the cold snap over! Things would get back to normal. Ha Ha, you kids will go back to school.
We lay in our beds, somberly viewing the future. Once again we would be confined to the classroom, tied to dull arithmetic and sleepy geography. Desperate prayers wafted heavenward, promising good behavior. And lo, in the morning the world was encased in a glittering glass coffin. Trees groaned and split, branches crashed fracturing the icy sheathing below. The sun sent splinters of light and color into the dullest eye, penetrating even the adult mind with a sense of wonder.
Electrical wires were transformed into ropes of crystal. Walking was hazardous but not to be avoided. Our boots made jagged trails that crushed the snow beneath. One could have made a case for monsters roaming through the neighborhood. The ice held for two days, but at last our resolution grew weak. Ice was not as pleasant as snow—it might not be so bad to go back to school and play jacks and jump rope—and escape to the Saturday matinees on weekends. Spring would bring baseball, croquet and roller skating—along with biking for rich kids who had wheels. So, as the ice melted, our wills weakened. It was the news that school might be extended at the end of the year that broke us completely. We gave up. Our wonderland was reduced to winter’s familiar gray rains. But satisfaction still lingers as I recall that wonderful season.
Here in my kitchen, I wonder. Where did they all go? Those dreams and memories that sped away into unknown galaxies? Ah. The day’s half gone, and an inner dragon bites my conscience. Yes, I must get busy. But someday, I’ll reclaim the jeweled nights and golden days that filled my childhood imagination, and go sailing through time just like Christopher Columbus!

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Published in: on January 6, 2019 at 11:47 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Times seemed so much simpler then. Now kids want to stay in the house and play video games when out of school. Saddens me that nature and the outdoors isn’t appreciated as much as when we were kids.

    • Times have changed. That lovely innocence was part of growing up in a small town. Kids played outdoors until it was dark or their parents called them in. I don’t deny that bad things happened in those years too, but not so much that people were afraid to let their children roam the neighborhood. We made up our own games. No TV or electronics. Make-believe families and eras were created, we adopted specific roles for designated genres. (pirates,waitresses, cowboys, Indian princesses) and everyone participated. We girls , sewed clothes for our dolls, boys and girls wore “gun belts” that holstered our western six-shooter cap guns and hunted down outlaws. We read library books and the comics, played soft ball and hopscotch. We sang and danced while my mom played the piano. Oh yes, Laura, those were the days! Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. Loved it when you read it in class and still do!

    • I love your blog too when you share your wonderfully poetic photography. Thank you!.


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