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Sunday, January 13, 2008

WINTER

Winter….ah, talk about how time changes the way you look at
things!

When I was a kid and we were living in the Dorchester section of
Boston, Winter was fun! We lived near the corner of Capen and
Selden Sts. and after a good snowfall most of the neighborhood
kids broke out their sleds to coast down Selden St. Somehow or
another the snowplows never seemed to get many of the streets
down to bare ground right away so we might have a whole
afternoon if school was out to enjoy it.


Another activity that I took part in occasionally was street
hockey. No, not the type they play on playgrounds nowadays
with plastic balls and roller blades. This was played out in the
street with your regular shoes because the street was slippery
enough already for you to “skate” on it. Real wooden hockey
sticks were used as well and either half a “pinky” or “pimple” ball
or a real puck, depending on who might want to risk hitting a
neighbor’s car with a puck. I didn’t play this one often because
the adults in the neighborhood weren’t too thrilled with the idea.


I never learned how to iceskate because it seemed I spent more
time falling down than standing up. My sister Cheryl was better
at it and her daughter Sara even competed on a statewide level in
later years.


Then we moved out of the city to the suburbs in Abington and
Winter and snow became …gulp…work!! It’s amazing how
quickly snow loses it’s charm when you have been shoveling
out the length of the driveway. I was content to go back inside
and read a book afterward!


Adulthood brought on the new challenge of driving to work and
back in snowstorms. The two most memorable instances were in
the Blizzard of `78 and the April Fool’s Day Storm of 1997. I’ll talk
about the Blizzard in a later post to mark the 30th anniversary
next month.


On the night of the April Fool’s storm, I was at work at the Silver
City Galleria Mall in Taunton, Ma. which was about twenty miles
south of South Weymouth where we were living at the time. The
mall decided to close early at around 8pm but by the time we got
the bookstore closed and the cash drawers counted it was 8:30
when I started for home. I drove up an unplowed Rte24 that had
very few other cars on it and then took my usual exit off at the
smaller Rte106 through West Bridgewater, then turned off onto a
shortcut that comes out at Rte 18 in East Bridgewater Square.
When I reached that point I saw that there were no traffic lights.
In fact, there were no lights anywhere.

I turned north on Rte 18 and by now I was driving into the snow
so there wasn’t much to see ahead of me beyond the headlights.
There were no streetlights either so I drove slower and kept as
close to the center of the road as I could since without streetlights
or houselights to either side there was the possibility I could drift
off the road to my right. In fact, the power was off all the way up
18 through the towns of Whitman and Abington. A drive that
normally takes about 15 minutes took nearly an hour.

South Weymouth hadn’t lost electricity so I thought the worst
was over. Then I reached the parking lot of the apartment
building and found that not only had it not been plowed out yet,
the entrance was also blocked from the snow bank left by the
street plows. I wasn’t sure parking out on the street would be a
good idea, so I backed my car (a Pontiac…nothing better than a
good sized car in a snowstorm!) and gunned it forwards. I made
it through the snow bank into the parking lot and off the street
and then the car stopped about 5 feet in.


After a few more tries to move it further in, I did the sensible
thing. I left it there for the night and went inside to warm up.
Next morning when the contractors finally arrived to plow out
the lot I went and shoveled my car out and moved it to my usual
parking place.


I will admit that in my family I’m one of the few who doesn’t like
the Winter season all that much. My folks had a camper trailer
that they kept in a trailer park up at Holderness N.H. and Dad
owned a snowmobile. By that time I was already an adult and
didn’t care to drive up there so I only took a ride once or twice.
My younger brother Phil had much more experience with it
than I did.


But with all that said, I can’t imagine living someplace without the
change of seasons that we have here in New England. After all, it’s
getting through all that cold and snow that makes us appreciate
the coming of Spring so much!

1 comment:

Miriam said...

I enjoyed this, Bill, and will post a link to my prompts post at AnceStories2.