I just returned from visiting my sister in Iowa. The weather was typical, for January. The sun stayed hidden under a heavy cloud-cover most days. Winter in the upper midwest can test one’s mood, at times.
What got me on this weather tangent is…I was watching their local TV station during the weather report, one evening. An interview with a local Superintendent of schools caught my attention when he said their district was debating whether or not to cancel school the next day, or at best, go with a late start, because of the predicted low temperatures expected that particular night. With wind-chill…it was expected to hover at zero.
I stopped my coloring, looked at my sis, and said. “Do you ever remember our school being cancelled because of the cold?”
She stopped her coloring for a moment and said. “I don’t think so.”
Then I said. “We were out at 6:30 AM milking cows and doing other farm chores, in below zero temps!” She shook her head and continued coloring.
I reminded her that there was no heat in our bedrooms, upstairs. Ice would form an inch thick on the window pane, at times. The linoleum floor really added to our misery as well as the lack of our bedroom’s obedience. What a treat it was to stay with friends who had heated bedrooms.
I know… wa-wa-wa!
I’d watch clouds of my breath drift from my mouth, and tried to see if I could make the next puff bigger than the last.
Mom piled so many blankets on our bed, that once you maneuvered your body under them, it was hard to move. They weren’t the fluffy down filled ones we put on our beds today. Most were scratchy, and I think we even had one of dad’s old Army blankets among the layers.
Flannel sheets helped a bunch, but have you ever tried to turn over with flannel pajamas on flannel sheets? It’s next to impossible! They get bunched up and you feel like a pretzel by the time it’s all over.
If dad was feeling generous, he’d open the stair door for a few minutes before we made our way up to the meat locker. We all know that heat rises, but I never believed it!
My nose was always cold but eventually I’d form a cozy cocoon. When my sis started sleeping with me we’d spoon, to double the warmth.
It sounds very primitive now, to think of such stark conditions, but that’s the way it was. I don’t recall having very many colds, except for the normal childhood diseases of that time–mumps, measles, chickenpox, and whooping-cough. And, when that happened we got the royal treatment–sleeping on the couch, in the warm living room, downstairs.
I think mom had it just as bad, because dad liked to crack their bedroom window a couple of inches in the dead of winter.
Awww, life was grand!