Linden Tree Leaves

Genealogy and Ancestry Explorations

Nona’s Stories: Childhood Winters

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When the first snowfall of winter came, we would dash outside to get bowlfuls of the clean, freshly fallen snow to make “ice cream.”

Mixed with the rich cream, sugar and flavoring—my favorite was Watkins Mixed Fruit Extract—it is still being made by the Watkins Co. It really was good.

We never made snowmen, but had a running snowball fight all the way to school. I was no match for both Ralph and Harry, but Mae and Gae Marshall lived almost a mile East of us, and walked to school with us, so us three girls could gang up on Ralph and Harry.

In bad weather, tho, they stayed with their cousin, Emma D. in town. So I was on my own. We never dared be late for school, because we knew if we did, we would have to stay in after school and walk home alone—and it would be after dark before we got home.

We were also kept in after school if we didn’t know our lessons, so we made sure we knew them.

My first year in school a little boy sat in the desk in front of me. He always had the most repulsive colds—and never had a handkerchief. It was sickening, and I told myself I was never going to have a cold—and to this day I’ve never had one. I’ve asked several doctors about it, and they have all told me I could be naturally immune to colds , or it’s possible I could have “willed” myself not to have coulds, it would be possible if I believed strongly enough that I would never have a cold. For what ever reason, I’ve never had a cold. I’m thankful I don’t for people with colds really look like they are miserable.

Every morning each of us had a fresh clean handkerchief before we started off to school. Grandma Burns made them of the soft, worn sheets—new material was too rough for handkerchiefs.

She hemmed them neatly by hand.

Nylon, Rayon and polyester hadn’t been invented. There was only cotton and linen, and real silk. Only cotton was used for underwear and slips. Panties were called “drawers.”

In the winter all children wore long sleeve and long leg “union-suits” which were an all-in-one undergarment. They really were needed in the cold winter times—they also wore long, block stockings—also needed for warmth.

But I hated both the “long-johns” and stockings, regardless of how much they were needed, and looked forward to Spring when both could be discarded.

-Nona

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