As I wait for our short winter to end here in SC, I think back to those NY winters. I spent my whole life there until I moved here nearly three and a half years ago. I know about winter weather, and I like it....for a short while.
Unlike today, when the schools close at the first report that snow is coming, when we were kids, schools would be open, and remain so, until there was a good amount on the ground. Since we lived within the 2 mile bus limit, we had to walk home. I didn't mind, most times, but I remember a couple of times when I'd arrive home, bone-chilled, with tingling cheeks and knees and wet, chapped legs. School dress codes said that girls had to wear dresses to class, so unless there was notice of snow coming, the pants were not available for wearing home. One particular day, by the time I'd walked from the school on Newtown Lane, to the end of Conklin Terrace where I'd cut through the vacant lot to my street, the snow had gotten to mid-thigh height on me. It dropped into my boots, wetting my feet and I thought my legs would fall off before I made it home. But, make it I did, and lived to tell about it.
As kids, we'd spend a good deal of time playing outside in the snow. There were times when we'd go sledding...always at 'the Orchard'...the hill at the farm in Amagansett on Stone Highway. It was a good clear hill, and steep enough to get quite a ride. It was a gathering spot for most of the kids we knew, and we'd often have races to see who'd get the farthest distance in the fastest time. If we weren't sledding there, the neighborhood kids would go over to the hill behind the Mott's house on Cedar St.
There was much fun to be had at Town Pond, too. Sometimes we'd walk to the pond, but since we were nearly frozen by the time we arrived, more often one of the parents would drive us, and sit in the car, waiting, with the heater running. Some of the girls in the neighborhood had skating skirts of cordoroy, which were worn it warm tights and heavy socks. There were other 'musts' too, for the skating outfit. We all had pom poms for our skates, and hoods for our heads, with long ends, like scarves, to wrap around our necks. We were dressed...and ready to hit the ice...
which is most often exactly what I did! I had as many failed attempts as I had successes, but it never dimmed my enthusiasm.
There's not enough snow and never ice strong enough to skate on where we live now. I might attempt sledding, even at my age, but my skating days are done. I'll spend my winter days remembering those teenage years when the muscles hurt from the winter activities, but the joys etched themselves into the memory.