Just for you, Marg

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by dreamer, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    The GM thread made me remember.....LOL. Now of course times are different now.and when I was a child us kids here were never inside, we were always outside, no matter the weather. And I do not think any weather bothered us much? And here in chicago area, it can get pretty extreme on either end..very hot and very humid.....and very bitter cold.
    As a child I lived in a small town, again, semi rural......wooded. 35 miles outside of chicago.
    Ah yes, we skated on the puddles in the fields and on the creek etc Most of us had skates..hand me downs etc..but you could still do well even in shoes or boots. . Yes we made snow angels, you lie on your back and spread your arms and legs and move them back and forth like yu are doing jumping jacks laying down. Of course we made snowmen and snow forts. And we used boxes, garbage bags and some of us had sleds and toboggans......and we had hills behind some of our houses. Icicles would form on the edges of the houses and we would pick them off and use them as giant lollipops. (I do not think thats advisable anymore)
    Even then our school seldom called a snow day.....partly becuz back then cars had snow tires you put on cars when winter began, maybe? (we no longer do that) and all the towns and counties etc here have vast quantities of snow removal equipment.....and they dispatch the plows and salt trucks even before the snow even begins to fall. And the equipment continues nonstop doing its work long after the snow stops.
    I suppose I have said many times already.I lived on the streets after age 12. It was different then and yes, I was able to find work.and was able by age 16 to get an apartment of my own, and a car.....and school did not turn me in to authorities. BUT what kind of car can someone in those shoes aford? Me and most of my peers....in winter.....we would bring our car batteries in the house so our cars would start in the morning. We also had this spray...we sprayed it on the carberator (sp) to help the car start in cold weather, and we put cardboard in the car grill in front......and often put old blankets on the car engine in the nite, plus we often would go start our car round the clock every hour or 2 and run it for 10 mins or so. and yes, put a sheet over windsheild so ice would not be so hard to get off come morning. HA, LOL. My husband did not live quite so poverty struck, LOL.....he thought I was nuts...but.then again HIS car usually did NOT start......ah but... he had family to fall back on and I did not. and since "I" worked 20 hours a day, I sure did NOT want to have to WALK to work.
    When I waited tables, I used to actually get PAID by my customers LOL to go out and start their cars for them when they were done eating. LOL.

    My dad was originally from MN and is part American Indian......he used to try to make........snow cream? But the silly guy never did remember quite how to make it. (he had left home at 12 as well.and he never ever looked back)
    I have not seen my dad in decades, I wonder if he ever remembered how to do it? LOL.

    Now in my community, skates, bikes, sleds etc are all illegal in town......even in the parks etc. Heck, these days, I go to these monthly meetings with police cheif and the people in this town are ...different......and they actually call and complain if kids are IN any park......yeesh, they also complain if people are out walking......last winter someone behind me got hit and killed by a snowplow on a residential side street and at the monthly meetings the other people in town actually said it served the guy right for being out walking. If a kid dared to go skateing on any of the creeks or ponds, they would likely find themself in trouble ......same with sledding in town.....and they closed the toboggan slides last year due to liability concerns and rising insurance costs.
    and I do not think I would want my kids licking any icicles these days. Last time me and son made a snowman in our yard....it was there maybe 12 hours before it was vandalized.....and I guess once the vandals finished with the snowman, temptation was too strong..cuz then they hit the cars. :-(

    BUT thank you......you took me on a very enjoyable walk down memory lane.....I did used to really enjoy the snow. And yes, I did have skates always from age 6 on (I had older cousins who handed down to me) and me and my one brother did have a sled and a toboggan.......and we used them daily.

    AND.......LOL..my only sister texted me last week to tell me she will not be at PCs baby shower becuz her and some of my cousins are going snowmobiling up north. But.I never snowmobiled myself. And have no interest in going with my cousins becuz a couple years ago they had a devastateing accident....they tend to drink and snowmobile...... and actually a newsman was killed. and my husband? he NEVER was in his whole life an outside person or an active person. LOL. I dont think HE even ever had an icicle? LOL, poor deprived city man.
    Oh and I also went ice fishing LOTS. (altho havent in YEARS)
  2. Dreamer,

    Thanks for the snow memories :) When I was young we did make snow cream, several times during the winter... no telling what horrible chemicals we ate .... but we loved it!

    And, oh yes, the grand days of carrying my car battery in every night - and unfreezing my car locks, and searching down my snow shovel. Some of the many reasons I moved South!
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    What wonderful memories!

    When I was really young, we did not have a sledding hill nearby so when we moved (between 5th and 6th grade) and had a huge hill amongst the trees on the edge of our yard, my sisters and I were in sledding heaven. Dad cut a path up the hill in the summer to walk through our property and we would open it up in the winter to sled. If you didn't make the first sledding path right, you could end up hitting a tree. We had friends (boys) who did not listen to us and insisted on making that first path after the snow. Us girls had to work on changing their mistakes so we could get down the hill safely. We called the hill "Dips and Doodle" because when you "dipped" (tipped over) you would "doodle" your time away. Our sled of choice was a wooden tobaggon and we took turns steering it.

    We also had a much smaller hill that we used to learn downhill skiing.

    A friend took us to a huge huge hill for a sledding party one time. The hill was so large that there were snowmobilers int the party that drove us up the hill. Otherwise we would be so exhausted from climbing we wouldn't have lasted as long.

    We did some ice skating, not much, and some crosscountry skiing.

    I learned to snowmobile just for the knowledge - never really liked it.

    When we sat in our living room, we can watch cars start a drive up a steep hill. My dad talks about the winter when he would watch almost every single car start up the hill only to have to back down. He was so proud when he saw me try to attempt the hill. He sat and waited for me to back down but I never did, I had learned how to maneuver the hill in winter.

    Now our church has annual "Day at the Lake". One for Summer for swimming, boating, ect. and one in the winter for snowmobiling, ice fishing, skating, sledding, ect. I love our Days at the Lake. I am not an outdoor person so I am usually found indoors visiting and maybe playing a board game.

    Winter memories! Snowmen and snowangels have a special job - they make winter bearable.

    Anyone else have winter memories for Marg and anyone else with not much experience with this lovely white stuff?
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I had to stop in and tell you about a sight I saw tonite. I had left my town to go to the next town to the 24 hour store to get a few things for baby shower. The snow has stopped for the moment....but everything has a fresh layer of snow. The trees in the wooded area were so pretty. The snow clings to the bare branches and is stunning. It is a rural area so there are no lites around so the sky is quite black, it was clear but I did not see the stars becuz its a full moon. So....the sky was stark black, and the moon was up high and so bright and the ground was pure white and the trees were white covered branches. It was magical. If you were to ever ask me I would tell you I would prefer to live on an ocean......by water......and I would tell you while I prefer cool air....I do not really like cold.....(but I like cool better than warm or hot) OR.....I might tell you I love the green of spring. BUT.....it was an absolutely beautiful nite tonite. I stoood in the silly parking lot for quite a while just gazing in wonder at the sky. LOL......if anyone saw me, they must have wondered just what in the world I was doing there n the grocery parking lot at midnite looking at the sky. LOL. Prior to that I had been by the riverwalk......but.....its closed up for winter, I guess. A shame.
    Even tho my house is in town proper, and houses are nearly on top of each other here.last nite a deer walked across my driveway.(thats not common at all) and tonite I hear a raccoon on my roof.
    Im sure hes waiting for neighbors to get their garbage to the curb as tomorrow morning is our weekly garbage pickup. There are 5 houses north of me, and then 3 school bldgs clustered there along the creek....and then it is vast rural space.....apple orchards and dairy farms and corn fields and christmas tree farms. South of me is town and then more towns .......but north of me is quite rural. East of me had only the gov bldgs until this year, but now theres a new HS in what was a huge farm.....and a new houseing development....so the critters are on the move, now. west of me has houses for 2 blocks and then it is rural, conservation district land.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thank you for this.

    We were fairly poor growing up also. We lived off what we could grow ourselves, plus my Dad went out to work to pay for the rest. I used to help Mum with cooking and preserving our produce, and also give Dad a hand with the animals. I did a lot especially with the sheep and the poddy calves.

    husband's family were better off, both parents worked so they could afford holidays away. I've seen photos of the family at the snow. husband learned to ski.

    I have never skied. I always wanted to learn but never got the chance.

    When I was in early high school we had the option for sport, to do ice skating. It was exciting for me, I had never been to an ice skating rink before. We had the rink to ourselves, they hired a teacher in figure skating to help us and I didn't do too badly. I loved the exercise in the cold, and it always felt lovely to walk outside afterwards, back into the warmth (even ini winter, outside was much warmer) and to feel the warm glow not only of the air outside, but also after the exercise. I remember one day we'd been taught 'snow plough' to stop ourselves and a lot of surface ice had been scraped off and I fancied that perhaps snow might look like that.

    Then when I was 15 (and at a different school further out in the country) our school went on a week-long trip to the Riverina (the food basket of NSW) and also to the Snowy Mountains. The trip was in August, towards the end of our winter, so we hoped there would still be snow to see. We have no permanent snow in Australia; in summer months, the Snowy Mountains are a great place to go trekking through the bush and high country.

    It was several days into our trip before we were anywhere near snow. For most of us it was the first time. Our noses were pressed to the glass of the bus windows and there were shouts form the front as the first snow was sighted. I thought it looked like foam from a bubblebath or over-soaped load of washing, foam spread over the fallen logs and branches of the trees. There were only patches here and there, until we got to Thredbo where we were to stop for lunch. We piled out of the bus and the small patch of icy snow soon vanished under the onslaught of us kids, maknig snowballs and trowing them at each other. The bus driver evaded the snowballs by wearing his leather jacket. I was wearing a thick woollen jumper over a skivvy, my mother had madde me pack layers and insisted I wear pure wool, it was the only way to keep warm. On my feet I only had sneakers, although two pairs of wool socks should have been enough, according to my mother. They weren't. I wore thick tights under white stretch trousers, I had carefully dressed in the way my mother had made me rehearse. But I was still cold. Parka? Beanie? Gloves? What were they? I did regret the lack fo gloves, my hands were stinging as if cut, from scrapes on the ice. Because although we THOUGHT this was snow, it was in reality the partly-thawed/refrozen ice you get at the bottom of a ski run where there is most traffic, and at the end of the season when the temperatures are above freezing during the day.

    Then we discovered tobogganing. We walked halfway up the hill and sat down, sliding on our rear ends to the bottom. It was fun! A few kids found a cardboard box and opened it out, making a sort of toboggan that went much faster, especially with five of them sitting on it sharing it. Others of us found more cardboard, I found the flap off a cardboard box and sat on that.

    After an hour it was time to go, we had to continue through the national park to get down from the mountains to our accomodation that night. We said farewell to the snow and piled back onto the bus. We were wet, cold, tired but happy. Some of the kids were even wetter - the opened-out cardboard box had slid right into the creek and their wet outer layers had been stripped off and were hung from the haldrails, swinging to and fro on the bends in the mountain road and slapping us in the face on each corner as the bus wound higher.

    Then we turned a corner and saw REAL snow, great drifts of it. This was Dead Horse Gap. The kids clamoured to be let off the bus, the bus driver and our teachers finally relented because they had to stop anyway to put chains on the bus. So we finally experienced REAL snow, it was up to our knees and we danced around in it, some of the kids began makng a snowman and THIS snow didn't make our hands feel scraped. It was still too cold without mittens or gloves, though, and my feet and trousers were soaking wet from the slush we'd been playing in down in Thredbo Village. We were there for maybe half an hour, I took a lot of photos with my camera (I don't know why I didn't take any in Thredbo itself) then we got back in the car and drove on, soon waving the snow goodbye for the rest of the trip.

    I had never been anywhere in snow overnight, until our New Zealand trip in 2007. easy child & BF1 were with us there, BF1 had never seen snow falling (I did, a few years after my first experience, but it hadn't been very much snow, the snowy equivalent of a light misty drizzle). Then it started to snow, the day before we were due to leave the place we'd been staying. It snowed, we played in it, the snow got heavier, we watched as everything got blanketed with it, we drove to the village and watched the snow falling in the village (very picturesque) then got back and played more. The place hd a giant outdoor chess set so difficult child 3 & I played chess in the snow, even though it as getting tricky to find the chess board under the snow. Waking up next morning and peering out the window was beautiful. But trying to drive anywhere in it - NOT beautiful. easy child & BF1 had to get to the big town 100 km away (60 miles) but the road was closed when we got to the highest point of the drive. It took us another day and a lot of luck to get to the town, to find tha airport closed anyway. The town was even more picturesque, with snow through the town right down to the lake edge. This was where a lot of "Lord of the Rings" was filmed, the amazing mountains and fabulous scenery.

    The rest of our trip was snowy. A few days later, after we had finally seen easy child & BF1 onto a plane for Sydney and swearing they never wanted to see snow again, husband, difficult child 3 & I drove north through more snow, past Mt Cook with snow right down to the glacier-fed lake at its foot. The colours were spectacular. Then a few days later we caught a train that goes right across South Island, again travelling through places that were cut off by road due to the heavy snowfalls.

    One lovely memory we have of New Zealand was from North Island, when we drove to the top of Mt Ruapehu. The ski field there wasn't open (the season was to start the next week) but it was fascinating to visit the only skifield in the world that is on the side of an active volcano! To know that we were in snow, but just above us was a steamy, hot crater lake - amazing. There were wisps of steamy cloud around the top of the mountains (there are three active volcanoes in a row, all connected). We took more photos of where the Gates of Mordor were filmed. And Mt Doom (they used Ruapehu for Mt Doom also).

    I was over 50, but had finally seen snow falling right before I slept and again when I woke. Heavy snow, real snow, an adventure. And at last I was dressed to cope with it, in a down parka and ugg boots! Warm feet, warm body. We'd heard the siren and announcement of the school next door to where we were staying as they announced a snow day, and later we saw kids tobogganing down the street.

    Sometimes when you visit a place you get a lot more than just different sights; you get new experiences also.

    One day I would love to visit the US and see (and experience) so much more. And if any of you ever want to visit Australia - let me know, we'll show you around.

  6. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Marg....LOL....there are many times I am shoveling in a tshirt and tennis shoes - once in shorts. Living here you get acclimated.....and I run warm to begin with. So many different kinds of snow, I hear Alaskans have several words for it..to describe different kinds. This week our snow was light fluffy, powdery, easy to shovel, lousy for snowman building and snowball makeing. I remember your trip to NZ...I was so happpy for you. :) this year I finally began to wear gloves on my hands again. I had not worn gloves or mittens since childhood, could not stand how cumbersome they feel. I have not skied. Not sure why. I HAVE done tent camping in winter, in snow.....with girl scouts.
    I was in mid 40s before I saw the ocean. I loved it. I did not want to come home. :) I went to Wildwood NJ in "off season" I live in what is known as "CHain of Lakes" area here...many rivers and lakes all around. I love to drive over to the Mississippi, altho it is quite polluted.
    I did not see mountains till my 30s. I also loved them...my DHs mom lived up on top of a mountain in VA and man thats some beautiful place. EXCEPT ....when she passed away just before my son was born.....end of Jan...1995. We had to go there, and we got caught there in an ice storm on the mountain. THAT was maybe the scariest thing I have ever had happen.....coming down a mountain with black ice all around. 18 wheel trucks were just sliding everywhere around and cars were everywhere.
    IF when I can get the kids to help shovel (HA!) I make fresh cocoa from scratch with a special recipe.and homemade cookies hot from the oven. If I make fresh coffee before I shovel, I usually come in to find everyone has drank it all on me. :-( My kids are unimpressed with snow, ice, cold. Not to worry, they are also unimpressed with heat, flowers, fresh mown grass. And stars and sunshine and sunrises and sunsets. Maybe its genetic? LOL.....their daddy is unimpressed with EVERYTHING except videogames. <sigh> Now heres the silly thing. PCs boyfriend is always looking at me as if I were goofy......we do not eat much ice cream here in summer when it is hot out. We tend to enjoy it more when it is cold out. My personal thought is that maybe it is too rich and heavy in summer for us? AH but I also enjoy good hot soup in summer. LOL.

    I no longr bring my car battery in in winter. :) No longer have to change to snow tires on car in winter.....BUT it is still a problem when it is moist and then cold, car locks freeze.....and yes we still have to brush snow off the cars and use scrapers on the car windows. Last week 2 of our cars needed new blower motors for their heat and defrosters. and new wipers.

    But we never get bored here, becuz come spring we will have thunderstorms......and floods.....and tornados. I am a trained severe weather spotter.and I get exhilerated dureing thunderstorms. I have a deep respect for tornados. Altho----we HAVE had some thnderstorms and even tornados in winter. Matter of fact I lost 3 of my original 7 trees in my yard to WINTER thunderstorms. In seperate years. Last Jan we had a tornado hit maybe 2 miles from my house-it derailed a train, If I remember correctly.
    A few weeks ago, within one week, we had record breaking warmth one day,and major flooding, ice storms another day, record breaking snowfall another day and then temps well below zero before wind chill was factored in and then very nasty strong winds. One summer maybe 95? our area had several hundred people die from heat.

    I have never been a traveler....and as a young person I wanted to go to florida and california. Later I wanted to go to Hawaii. More recently alaska sounds beuatiful. But, I do not fly.....and I am a homebody.

    easy child went to Ireland with school last year.she said it is lovely there. I think your Australia sounds like a wonderful place.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's funny you mention not seeing mountains until you werein your 30s - technically anything called a mountain in Australia, doesn't really qualify to the rest of the world. husband & I went to Greece in about 1990, and to Malaysia for our honeymoon in 1978. That was my first time out of the country, the first chance to see REAL mountains. In Greece I was amazed by the height of the mountains there. New Zealand mountains were just as high, so much higher than anything in Australia. I would look up about as high as ever I need to at home, and have to keep looking up... and up... and even further.

    The first thing that struck us about New Zealand, was it was GREEN! Lush pastures, nothing flat, all very green. Back in Australia even our lawns are not that green. Those of us obeying the water restrictions have brown lawns, or no lawns.

    There have been a few snow-ice related deaths in New Zealand in the last few weeks - Aussies. Two brothers were on Mt Cook and one fell into a crevasse, they still haven't recovered the body, I don't think. They got the other brother out, they were amazed he was still alive. Both were experienced mountain climbers and experienced with snow and ice, but they got trapped. The surviving brother and family have said that Mt Cook is a fitting burial place for their loved one, he was happiest when in the snow on top of a mountain. husband & I were remembering our own visit to the foot of Mt Cook when there was a lot of snow right down to the lake edge. At the moment, all of that would be green. Mt Cook has permanent snow and glaciers, though.

    And the other death - two brothers travelling with their parents visited the Tasman Glacier. We wanted to go see it but couldn't get across the mountains due to the snowfalls being so bad. These brothers did what a lot of tourists do, apparently - they clibed trough the barrier and walked up to the glacier, which then dropped a wall of ice on them. They rescued one brother who was off to one side, but the twin who was underneath the biggest part of the fall, they knew he was dead and have had to leave the body there. Those guys were there with their parents, just tourists who didn't know how dangerous snow and ice can be. Very sad for them all. Maybe if it hadn't been midsummer in NZ, the ice wouldn't have been so precarious?