Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

We had so much snow in Iowa that we had snow caves that Dad dug out with the payloader. I'm the one at the far left, although the photo is obviously backwards according to the flipped date of March 1962.

Well, we are having a brown winter this year, so nothing too exciting to photograph in the present. So, let’s go back in time (again). I’ve scanned some old b&w photos from days gone by.

What I remember about Iowa winters were lots of days off from school in the winter. The nuns at Holy Name would give us homework for days at a time, just to make sure we had work to do while we were snowed in. (And, of course, I reveled in checking off the assignments I completed.)

But I also remember piling on coats and mittens and scarves to go outside to play and coming in wet and cold and tired. I remember hot chocolate. I remember putting totally ice-crystalled mittens on the heater to melt and dry.  I remember the smell. I remember not feeling my fingers and nose and toes. I remember how they burned when I felt them again.

I never learned to ski in Iowa, but I do remember sliding down just-big-enough hills all day on inner tubes, especially as I got older and I went sledding with friends on huge tractor inner tubes on Peterson Hill.

On Peterson Hill

An icy leftover of ancient glacier
mirrors a china blue plate of sky
that looks down on Iowa fields.
Bitter north winds slap against
this rise dotted with red-faced young.

Prairie children do not know mountains.
Nothing here leaps up to hamper their gaze.
They do not learn to strap skis to booted feet,
or slice down trails one by one standing up
or control their speed by a turn of ankle.

This slope is best for tractor inner tubes
that hold swaddled rumps a dozen at a time.
These riders learn to pull in exposed limbs
and lock arms as they bounce recklessly
against the slippery crust of winter.

Prairie children know the last one on is first to fly
and bottom is safest though bruised for days.
They learn to love most that frozen moment
when one sudden bump suspends them all
above blue ice—holding each other’s breath.


10 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

  1. I was just reminiscing with my daughter about the fun times at Peterson. I remember the time I drove my dad’s pickup with all the tubes in the back and the heater went out on the way there. Faith and John had to help me keep the windows clear until we arrived. I don’t remember what happened after that. I think we still tubed.


    • What a coincidence! I’m sure you tubed. Too far to go w/o going down that hill! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you were here.


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  3. Those were such fun times. Didn’t we have some Holy Name snow parties at Larabee, too? I gave my granddaughters (ages 3 and 1) an inflatable sled for Christmas as they have a small hill outside their apartment just their size. I’m confident there will be enough snow to complain about before this winter is over!
    I remember those advance assignments, too! My brothers, who went to public school, never had homework over snow days. I thought it quite unfair at the time.
    Sometimes dad would pull us behind the tractor in a hood off of an old car across the open fields. Mom always had hot chocolate ready for us after we peeled of the frozen gloves and left them to dry on the furnace grate.


    • Love your memories, Irene! Thanks for posting! Yes, I remember Larabee too, and we used to find some great hills in a farmers field around Paullina too. I think the nuns relished giving out days and days of homework too. We had so many more days out than the public school did, didn’t we? At least it seems like we always knew the night before and we’d scream from our beds upstairs as we listened through the floor vent. Fun! Thanks for that, Irene!


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  5. Lovely memories. I too remember wearing knitted mittens which became soaked within a short time in the wet snow of western BC Canada. We had sleighs with runners and would head down the laneway and out across the railway tracks, so dangerous… but no one stopped us. Great photo


    • I’ve never been to British Columbia, but I’ve seen many beautiful photos of friends who have. Thanks for the visit and sticking around to write a comment! Much appreciated!


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