The winter of 2014 has turned out to be a cold one. Fortunately, the past few winters have been somewhat on the mild side, for us. Dealing with sub-freezing temperatures again has sparked some vivid memories, for Ed and me, of days gone by…
Ed and I both agreed, sleeping and waking up in cold houses is still our most vivid memory! No matter how people heated their homes, back then, they simply piled several layers of covers on their beds, and let the heat go out at night. Perhaps, on an especially frigid night, they might keep the fire stoked or leave the [gas or kerosene] heater turned down low; regardless, we always woke up in a warm bed, but it was located in a cold house!
Ed says his dad always had a difficult time waking him up for school, so after two tries, his dad would simply pull the top covers off the bed, leaving Ed exposed to the cold. Ed says this always got him up and running!
My family lived in several different rental houses, while I was growing up, and most of them didn’t have much of a way to heat them! I have many memories of getting dressed, for school, while standing in the kitchen, beside the opened oven.
One little house we lived in only had a fireplace as its source of heat. A fireplace is a sorry source of heat–unless you have a fireplace insert, which didn’t exist back then! Most of the heat, from the fire, gets sucked up the chimney, along with much of the heat from inside of your house! I won’t even talk about trying to get a fire started, then having to keep it going.
At one point, during my teen years, my parents were finally able to acquire a couple of propane space heaters, which made our last rental house a lot more bearable. (This particular house was big, so it could be difficult to heat.) I was always afraid of gas heaters, though, and never would light one of them. I was afraid I might blow myself up!
I remember daddy sometimes would put plastic sheeting over all of the house windows, in winter. It helped keep the cold air out, and the warm air inside, but we couldn’t see outside! During a couple of extremely cold spells, I remember mama temporarily hanging blankets over the living room windows, as well.
Having to take a bath in a cold bathroom is another vivid cold weather memory! The bathroom was always located far away from the heating source! No wonder people didn’t always take daily baths, back then! I used to fill the bath tub with hot water, only, then let it sit for a while, to help warm up the bathroom. It worked!
When I was a child, spending time at my maternal grandparents, during winter, proved to be a real adventure! It was like stepping back in time. They heated with a fireplace, and their old rental house didn’t even have ‘indoor plumbing’, except for in the kitchen! We slept with so many quilts on the bed, it was nearly impossible to turn over! If we needed to wash off, we used a dish pan. If we needed to use the bathroom, we had a choice of going the ‘outhouse’ or using the small, covered ‘pot’ which sat in the bedroom! Eventually, my grandparents bought another home, complete with a couple of propane heaters, and indoor plumbing! Their new home was large, and only certain rooms were heated. These areas didn’t include the bedrooms or the bathroom, but at least now they had a bathroom!
These days, mine and Ed’s home is evenly heated, by a central unit, twenty-four hours a day. We sleep with only one blanket on our beds, during winter. I wear short-sleeved shirts, year round. Our bathroom is equipped with an additional, small electric heater, to make sure it stays toasty warm, during bath time. No more waking up in a cold house or taking baths in a cold bathroom for us! However, it took us quite a while to get to this point! More winter weather memories to come…