Friday, September 23, 2011

30 Day Photography Challenge - A Childhood Memory

It was a snow day in January of 1978, but it came before the Great Blizzard, I think.

We'd played in the snow all morning - sledding down the hill at McMurray's where the kids at the bottom watched out for cars for the kids at the top. We were a snow dusted, ragtag bunch. Kids didn't come outfitted in squishy snowsuits back then.

Snowpants? Nah. We toughed it out in layers - a pair of long underwear, jeans, some fleece sweatpants if you had them. On top we wore more layers - those itchy long underwear shirts, a turtleneck that choked you, maybe a sweater, a thin coat and all of it covered with an enormous hoodie you dug from the back of the hall closet.

We were shrouded in knit scarves until they became too caked with snow and became a nuisance. We discarded into a colorful pile of knit hats, lonely mittens and the occasional odd boot.

We wore our fathers' old work gloves when we couldn't find any dry ones (someone forgot to turn the dryer on) and whatever hat made us look the least dorky. I remember my blue and white knit cap with Rising Sun Shiners emblazoned across the front. By the time I got home, the words were twisted around to the back. But who cared? What mattered were the number of times you made it from the top of the hill to all the way across the street without turning over, colliding with a tree or crashing into one of  your siblings. A crash with them could turn into a brawl.

We breathed in the cold air, but didn't really feel it. Just like when you jump into the pool during the summer and your skin tingles and goosebumps cover you, it only takes a few minutes to get used to the cold. And besides, you had so many layers on you looked like that poor kid in A Christmas Story and you were sweating down your back anyway.

After hours of that, we finally dragged ourselves inside to thaw out in front of the television. New Christmas toys still held their novelty. Kelly from next door - the same little blond beauty who had once paid the ice cream truck man with gravel - wanted to play at my house. Her mom had worked the swing shift at Seagram's or was it Schinley? and she was asleep in her perfect blue bedroom with her super chic sleep mask over her eyes. Kelly's brother Michael who was dying of something I never quite understood would yell at us if we got too loud and he'd ask her to bring him stuff - one thing at a time. He was dying angry and who could blame him? He never got to have a life the poor kid.

If we played at Kelly's house, we'd have to be quiet. If we played at my house, we'd have to put up with my little brother. We chose my house and settled in front of the TV - we were probably watching soaps on ABC before the afternoon reruns of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island came on - I dragged out the TV trays so we could play beauty shop.

My aunt worked for Kenner and so we got a lot of cool Kenner toys for Christmas each year. That particular year, I got a styling head based on Lindsay Wagner aka Jamie Sommers, the Bionic Woman. Kelly had the classic Barbie styling head. There's a photo of us on that day. My sister took it with the Polaroid camera she got that same Christmas.

I wonder what ever happened to Kelly? Did she keep her Barbie head? I can't believe my mother saved Jamie Sommers. She kind of creeps me out sitting on the shelf of this weird little closet over the stairs, but I can't bring myself to toss her out. She's bionic, after all, and I might want her around to keep me company after the kids put me in a home.

Jersey Shore Style
What did you do on snow days?

P.S. I'm kind of sick today and our internet connection is full of attitude so I'm not sure I'll be back to put up links. Don't forget to check out what Randal, Geoffrey and Summer are getting up to. xoxoxo

Geoffrey takes a stroll down Memory Lane.
Eeek - it looks like Randal has what I have.
I could use some of Summer's bad habit.


  1. Sorry to hear you are not well. I think it traveled through the intertubes from me to you.

    Yeah, Jamie is kinda creepy. Love the story, though, nice build-up.

  2. Snow days? Before puberty, Atari 2600, board game marathons, plus copious amounts of D&D if we could round up enough folks, plus Strat-O-Matic once I found out that joy existed (hey, Mathman, you ever play that?). Post-puberty, obsessing over Lynda Carter.

    Always found it funny that other dudes would razz me for watching that show. Um, hot pants, you dorks.

  3. I think it traveled through the intertubes from me to you.

    I knew it. EEEK!

  4. What beautiful writing. Truly.
    And I had completely forgotten about our snow "outfits", identical to yours down to the sweat dripping down your back as you risked frostbite from wet mittens knit by grandma.

    Thank you for this, and feel better.

  5. You been breathed on by Randal? Ick. Hope not. Get better, now, y'hear?

  6. Feel better soon!

    My snow days were NEVER as fun as yours sounded!

  7. Great memories, Lisa.
    Snow days weren't much different than summer days. We hung out in the park until the sun went down, then slipped into a warm bath to dissolve the grime that had accumulated in our pores. You're right about the snowsuits. Mine were a mishmash of invention. I don't think I owned a pair of snow boots until college.

  8. Are you sitting down? This week I've been reading and tweaking a few parts of my WIP and guess what one of the sections had in it? The Blizzard of '78!

    I remember everything shut down for a week, it was just crazy. We'd never seen anything like that in Southeast Missouri.

  9. Having grown up long ago in Canada there was no such animal as a 'snow day' meaning we got to avoid school. On 'snow days' it just took longer to walk the five miles to get there.


  10. Sounds like our snow days when I was a kid. You'd never catch teenagers these days in those out-fits!

    I miss those times, almost killing ourselves in the name of fun and adventure. Hot chocolate never tasted so good than the kind with the miniature marshmallows hard as little hockey pucks!

    I never had a styling head, but my grandmother had a wig stand with this wig that looked like a lame version of the coiffure sported by Agent 99 on "Get Smart!" It always rested on the dresser in the guest room. I hated sleep-overs at that granma's house!

    I never had a

  11. You have no idea how much I miss playing in the snow.

    Your dolly head creeps me out, but I loved Barbies back in the day, so I won't judge other peoples dollies.


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