The Snows Of Yesteryear (ms)

As I sit writing this the snow is falling quite heavily outside. Unusual, snow in October, but not unheard of. Why, when I was a kid living in these parts we would get snow in mid-September some years and it was deep too. Before long some of the neighbors took to tunneling their way out of their homes that’s how deep it was.

Of course they never did cancel school back then. No, not like today when it seems they cancel at the drop of a flake; back in my day you went to school no matter what and winter was a “what” but that’s the way it was.

Before long, about early to mid-October, the snow was pretty deep but that never bothered me. No, I was too busy to worry about snow for the work of the day had me occupied from dawn to dark and then some.

There was the furnace to tend every morning; a big old hot air coal furnace that needed to be fed each day and I was the guy doing it. Went down at dawn, poked the red coals a little then shoveled some fresh stuff on. Once that was done I went out and fed the chickens and gathered up some eggs. Ma made my breakfast while I cleaned up and got dressed to go. After I ate a hearty meal intended to keep a boy with my work ethic on the move till lunch I started off for school.

It was about three miles as I remember, maybe six, but it’s been a long time. Most of it was uphill which wouldn’t have been bad except I was pulling a sleigh full of books. They were what I used to study from each night as I worked at maintaining my straight A average. It was a struggle but then anything good is only gained by proper work I always say. Generally I ran most of the way to school thereby blazing a trail following the frequent overnight snowfalls we had back then. The smaller kids always thanked me for that.

At times I would take my lunch but then spend half the lunch period down by the boilers. See, I had persuaded the janitor to let me help him shovel coal just to keep my blood moving. For a guy like me there is nothing worse than stale blood.

After school I headed on home, often in a blizzard or a squall, my books carefully piled on my sled. I had to watch how they were stacked for on the way home I would often pick chunks of coal to carry with me; generally two or three pieces weighing maybe twenty pounds each would do it.

Once home I cracked it into smaller pieces making it ready for our own furnace which I of course filled again before going up for supper. When the meal was done it was off to hit the books where I would spend a few hours studying before calling it a day.

Now, all this might seem to be a bit of exaggeration to you and I can understand that. Today I’d likely be on all the news shows as Super Boy given my work load but there wasn’t as much television back then so my adventures stayed local but what I’ve told you here, for the first time, is true. I’ve thought about it over the passing years and this is exactly as I remember it so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

~ by admin on October 29, 2011.

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