Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Childhood Winter Weather Memories…

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…

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 9:33 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We’ve been spoiled living here in California too, where the weather generally doesn’t go lower than the 60’s during the day and the 40″s at night. But back when we had our cold spell in early December (or late November I don’t remember which now) our heater decided it wasn’t going to work and we had to use a space heater. Talk about pile on the blankets and make sure the kids had their warm pajamas on! Both Yohn and I laughed at the memories it brought up about sleeping under piles of blankets and it being cold when getting dressed in the morning!

  2. My dad would tell stories of waking up in the morning and having to crawl out from between two feather mattresses – one on top and one on bottom…only to find the wash water with a skim of ice over it. The house I grew up in, had a good furnace, but there were two big floor vents in the downstairs, and the bedrooms upstairs had little floor vents that were open to the downstairs, allowing the heat to rise. Needless to say, we were usually chilly in the mornings, but not so cold that ice would form, thank goodness! We are surely blessed today!

  3. We, in 2014, are so blessed to be able to maintain a constant temperature in our homes.

  4. Enjoyed hearing your memories.

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