#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Winter

The author as a one-year-old child wearing a red hooded jacket standing in the snow among giant redwood trees.
Sequoia National Park (1966)

This may have been my first experience with snow. I was born in Spain in late 1965, and we returned to the U.S. (well, my parents returned; I came for the first time) in early 1966. In November 1966, just before Thanksgiving, we headed west from Pensacola to my dad’s new duty station in Seattle. Along the way, we visited Sequoia National Park. In the snow. I don’t really remember it, but last year, we had the slides scanned.

When I was four, we moved to Dunoon, Scotland. My dad was stationed at Holy Loch. In the fall, right after I turned 5, I started school. I turned right out of our yard and walked along a low stone wall a bit, and then I turned left. I think I walked downhill to get to school and uphill to go home (as opposed to uphill both ways). I remember my mom told me not to touch the snow and get my mittens wet, and as soon as I made that right turn, I ran my mittened hand in the snow along the top of the wall.

Later, I know it snowed when we lived in Virginia. I really don’t remember ever doing anything with any of the snow, like building a snowman or making snow angels or even throwing snowballs.

I made a snowman once in Florida. We were living in Pensacola and probably had an inch of accumulation. The snowman was about 5″ tall. I kept it in a baggie in the freezer for years until it either shrunk from freezer burn or melted in a power outage.

In 1992, I got married, and we lived in Missouri for the first year and a half. The first snow, while my husband was getting ready for work, I took the broom and went down and cleaned off the car for him. After breakfast, when he said, he’d better head down from our apartment a little early, so he could clean the car off, I proudly told him I’d taken care of it. Then he pointed out that it had started snowing again! I was so mad! That winter, I also fell on my keister twice from slipping on the ice. Tim insists it was a mild winter (and tells the story of when they didn’t have school, or electricity, for weeks because of a snowstorm. Brrrrr!

In March 1993, my grandmother died, and I flew back to Pensacola for the funeral. Tim followed a couple of days later and by that time the Storm of the Century was moving in, so his flights were delayed. Grandma was buried on Friday, March 12th, and the snow fell on Saturday. We got an inch or two of accumulation. Tim and I both laughed because they closed all the overpasses, and we’d both (by that time) driven in worse snow than Pensacola had that day. A few months later, though, we moved south.

For years after that, the Pensacola area had occasional flurries, with tiny little snowflakes that might last for a minute or two on a cold car, but would melt very quickly on your hand. We even had some once on Christmas or perhaps Christmas Eve.

Then came 2014. It wasn’t so much snow that started falling on January 28th, but freezing rain. It layered up until the entire greater Pensacola area was essentially a solid sheet of ice. I worked in the news, so I geared up and went to the car, and I couldn’t get in. The doors were frozen shut. We worked on it for hours, heating the key to try to get it to go into the ignition. Scraping the windows with credit cards. Finally, we got in and turned it on to warm up and try to melt the rest of the ice on the windows. When we could see, Tim said he would try to drive me. We got about a mile and a half down the road (it’s maybe 5 miles to my work) and Tim said, nope, and turned back. He was more worried about the way other drivers were sliding around. When we turned around, we saw one of my colleagues with a news vehicle interviewing the deputy who was guarding one of the overpasses (it really was a good thing to close it that day). So, Tim let me out, and I slowly slid (without falling!) my way over to the crew and bummed a ride with them. By the time I got off work, the roads were clearer due to people driving on them all day, and Tim was able to pick me up.

Those are my winter memories, inspired by Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.

By the way, we have *two* ice scrapers now, sent from Tim’s mom in Missouri.

The author as a one-year-old sitting in a white Ford Mustang and looking out the open door at the snow and trees.
Sequoia National Park (1966)

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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