And making snow angels was definitely an experience I wanted to have. And throwing snowballs. And building a snow fort.
But San Bernardino is in a desert. And northeast Texas is something worse. Winters are mild, which suits most people’s preferences, I guess. But I felt deprived.
Once in San Bernardino when I was growing up it snowed. The flakes melted as they hit the ground.
We got an ice storm in Texas one winter. It created a frozen layer over the ground. No one could walk anywhere for a couple of days, because you could not even stand up on the slippery ice.
My brother Don and I got to experience snow a couple of times when Mom and Dad took us to Big Bear Lake. I can remember two things from those trips: throwing snowballs and altitude sickness.
I applied to only two colleges, one in Texas and one on the East Coast. When I was accepted at both, I chose to attend the one out on the East Coast, because I figured it would have more interesting weather.
It did. During my first semester at Georgetown, we had a big snowstorm in October. Heaven. I could not stand to go inside to study. It was just too much fun, too exciting. All of my East-Coast-born-and-bred college friends laughed at me, but I think they secretly enjoyed it all, too.
I decided to go to graduate school in the Northeast, and the weather there didn’t disappoint, either. As a matter of fact, I was there during the Blizzard of 1978. Bob Ryan, then a weatherman for the Boston area, predicted that we would only get a “light dusting” of one to three inches. I, the Snow Amateur, went outside to look at the sky. It looked heavy, really heavy; there was no way we were going to avoid a Major Storm. I went to the local grocery store to stock up on food. That night the area got between 27 and 36 inches of snow, which formed deep banks in places as the result of high winds. After taking a vote (!?), the powers-that-be at Harvard decided that classes would actually be canceled for a few days. I became acquainted with the pleasures of winter hibernation.
Because we live in the mid-Atlantic area, my daughters have grown up with the Joy of Snow. They experienced the Blizzard of ’96 and, more recently, Snowmagaddon. People with young children learn something about snow-enforced hibernation: Cabin Fever. A couple of days after the snow had finally stopped, my husband and the dad of my daughters’ friends across the street dug a tunnel connecting the two houses. The next day two other dads of friends dug connector tunnels into that. We credit the survival of our children and our sanity to those tunnels and the opportunity they provided for our kids to visit, play, and run off some steam. It didn't hurt that we were within dig-out distance of a 7-11 Store, either.
Daughter B and a neighbor after a snowfall in the early 1990s
Daughter E after the Blizzard of ’96 with a bucket-and-holly snowman
We also learned that our street never gets plowed by the DOT. That is, not until after our neighbor’s friend is able to get here with his plow and do a darn creditable job clearing our residential street. Then the DOT plow shows up and, without clearing a speck of snow off of the middle part of the road, pushes the big piles we have made back into our parking places and in front of our newly cleared driveways.
In between the two storms that formed Snowmageddon out here in the mid-Atlantic, I did the unthinkable: I drove my husband to the airport. What was I thinking? Why had I abandoned my sanity? It was, in fact, one of those times that I knew I owed my husband a Big Favor. And that is the last time I will ever do that. I delivered him and I got home safely. It helps a lot when it’s just you and the Department of Transportation out there. Because Everyone with Half a Mind Is Smart Enough to Say Off the Roads. Did you know that driving down a curving, sloping onramp onto an interstate after a big snowstorm brings many of those same thrills that one gets on a roller coaster? White knuckles optional.
The view from our back porch after the first snowfall of Snowmageddon
Even at my arthritic age, driving in the snow is still probably the only thing that does not please me about winter and snow. Winter is for play, for sinfully long winter naps, and for hearty soups and more coffee than is good for you.
This is part of Amy Coffin’s (We Tree) series of prompts entitled 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History. When the subject is not one covered in a previous Memory Monday posting, I will try to sync the topics with my Memory Monday posts this year.
This is the prompt for week 2: Winter. What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.