Some of the coldest weather we’ve had in years is moving in for a short visit here in Maine. The hot tea will be flowing.
I was shivering one morning this week and was gently reminded of my childhood growing up in a small rural village in upstate New York. My father was an auto parts salesman and clerk until he was let go right before Christmas one year. My mother was a housewife. So, our limited funds on my father’s salary, became even more limited.
That winter, we had to save money and reduce the use of our heat throughout the house. We shut off heat to the 2nd floor, which meant my two sisters and I would be sleeping downstairs with our parents. We only had one-bedroom downstairs, so the use of two couches and a temporary mattress that would be hoisted up and moved out of the way each morning were our winter “bedrooms”.
At one point, we may have even just turned the heat down completely, I cannot remember. I just know we had a LOT of electric heaters in every room. During one extreme cold snap, I remember sleeping on a cot in the kitchen. We removed the oven door, turned that on and slept around the open oven in the kitchen. We used the oven like a fireplace or another electric heater huddling around it to eat breakfast. Dressing in layers and wearing mittens too bed was a thing.
The only shower and bathtub was UPSTAIRS, however. We’d run up into the freezing 2nd floor, and turn on an electric heater in the small bathroom, tightly closing the door, an hour before taking a shower or bath. I do remember at one point lugging jugs of boiling hot water upstairs to bath in. I can’t remember if the hot water was turned off, or it was just to supplement what little hot water we DID have. Yeah…that was fun.
My parents did the best they could during that time. My sisters and I had a roof over our heads, albeit a leaky one, food on the table, and clothes on our backs. And we had humor…lots of humor.
So, as we’re faced with bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills this weekend, I will remember how difficult those times were and remember those who aren’t as fortunate to have decent heating systems, wood-burning stoves, money to afford heat. I’m thinking of the homeless man I gave some cash to a few weeks ago. I hope he’s able to find a warm shelter to stay safe this weekend.
It sounds like the perfect weather to stay in the flannels and snuggle in with some Lapsang Souchong tea this weekend!
STAY WARM AND SAFE EVERYONE!
2 thoughts on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
I absolutely love this entry. I still dream about the house on Fourth Street. It represents to me what the perfect Family home should look like and feel like, especially when everyone was in it. I wish I could have grown up with you in it, but I am Thankful for the time I did get there. From sitting in the back yard and playing in the trees, to watching Papa come home and him giving me spinning wheels cakes, to the whole layout of every room, every nook and crany. It is so very much of who I am today. The backroom still is the reason why I like to express myself the way I do on every part of the walls in my own house and why everytime that someone comes over, I have them sign my chalkboard to leave their mark. Not to mention the furniture that I have in my home from their house. I cherish every peice with such honor. It will forever be a special place I go to in my heart and soul. I didn’t know about the stories about sleeping downstairs because it was too cold, or knowing that you even had to sleep in the kitchen with the stove just to be warm, but I can only imagine what fun that you all made out of those situations, with the humor that you all had. It is so lovely that the cold brings back those special memories. Thank you so much for sharing these on your blog. Lots of Love to you, Aunt Heidi XoXoXoXo
LikeLiked by 1 person
Awww….I LOVE that you have such fond memories of your time there as a young girl Jenny. Lots of love there for sure! Those times in the winter weren’t exactly FUN, but we made the best of a difficult situation. I remember your mom trying to study for her college courses as JCC sitting on the floor in front of one of the portable heaters in her McDonalds uniform after working there. She worked so hard. We also had such a good “gang” on Fourth Street with kids from all the houses around us. Playing hide-n-seek every night during the summer or kick ball. So much outdoor stuff…well before computers and cell phones came to be. Everybody knew everybody and we had a lot of fun. Our family didn’t have much growing up compared to others on our street, but the love and humor was ALWAYS there. Keep those memories alive in your heart. Your arrival in our family certainly brought so much joy! Love you, love you. ❤️❤️❤️