I was born in snow. Yes, I lived in snow until I was fourteen years old and we moved to California. I lived in Buffalo, New York.
I can remember getting dressed in my six-layer snow suit with everything you can imagine to keep me warm, along with my brother and sister. We would emerge from our basement; there was basements back east where you would keep all the extra stuff like your winter assembly.
I can remember going out to play, the white cold freezing my open face if I had forgotten to wear my face hat. It was a warm wool cap that covered your whole face except your eyes and a slit for your mouth. It kept you warm and the frost won’t bite your chin.
I loved running up and down the backyard with the fluff white drifts that came right up to our back door, making tunnels and igloos. I also remembered my brother pushing me down face first in the snow and tickling me until I’d pee. Then I have to go back to the house and undress my layers one by one until I was fully undressed and my mother telling me, “Why did you let him do that to you!” Let’s see, he’s three times my size and fast …
I tell my grandchildren that I use to have to walk to school some twelve blocks in the freezing blizzards. But when I tell it, it’s the truth; I really did it. I would be dressed in my snow gear when I left my house and upon entering school with my backpack, I would go to the girl’s bathroom and undress from all my wet clothes into my school clothes. I think other kids had moms or dads give them a ride to school in the snow. Mine did not.
I remember snow days when we’d sit by the radio/television and wait for our school to be called so we get a day off. Waking up on the weekend or weekday looking out my bedroom window, the whole street and our backyard perfectly white like in a picture book or a dream. Until about a day, then it’d get all cruddy looking from people and cars making it turn to slush and turning the white snow into brown and black yuck.
I loved to watch the snow plows come down our street really early to plow our street. How it smelled after a fresh snow, so pure and fresh ... How my grandchildren are so excited as they are going up to the Sierras on Saturday to go play in the snow. I tell them I was born in the snow and they all start talking at once—tell us more.
The most perfect memory I have is my parents along with my aunt and uncle and two cousins. We would go to a park in the middle of winter and have a winter picnic. Even if it was snowing, we’d go. We kids were crazy, with tobogganing up and down the ice path of the park. How my parents would be standing around a fire making yummy hot cocoa and hot food. How much I miss the magic of the picnic, after all these years. Most of my family has now passed away, but I can still remember the excitement of the day.
How I love the snow ... How I miss the wonderment of living in it. Along with the bad things that always goes with the snow and bad weather, like days of nonstop snow when no one could get around. How one morning my grandpa cussed because he couldn’t get out the back door to go to work, as it had iced the night before and we were trapped in the house until the ice started melting. The ice spears were so big they touched the ground from the roof of our garage, like clear, magical daggers. Some say it’s a perfect thing, the ice spears.
Yes, I was born in the snow.
Yes, I think I’ll go with them this Saturday to play in the snow with my three grandchildren and tell them more stories of how Gramma was born in the snow.
Yes, people say I am crazy to love living in it and talking about it. Yes, I was born in the snow.