Winter in a Village in Michigan

lindie_mi(5)November 20, 2011

Way-Back-When, we kids didn't let a little snow and cold keep us inside. We lived in a village set in a river valley, and the park made and maintained a skating rink each year - nothing fancy, you understand. It was outside! But there were overhead lights and a couple of benches for switching from boots to skates and back again. It was free and full of both kids and adults. I never was able to stay on my feet for more than a short length of time, but it sure was fun.

My family lived on top of what was referred to as "the small hill," up near the school. We would start up there on our sleds, on our bellies and sometimes piled two or three kids high, and start down, faces full of the snow which was thrown up. At the bottom of that first hill, you had to be prepared to make a sharp right to proceed down the second hill, then another very quick right onto the hill which ended up at the river. If you missed either of those turns, you smacked into a snowbank and kids would fly off in every direction. We'd just pile back on, but it was a small problem because the speed we had built up was lost, making the rest of the trip more difficult. This was usually done after supper and homework, but it would be very dark, except for streetlights, at that time of year.

Wet from head to foot and mittens frozen stiff, going back home, dragging the sled, was admittedly a longer trip than going down had been. Omigoodness, it was fun! Not even blizzards detoured us, and our bright red faces and running noses were proof of the good time we had. Living in a river valley (we were referred to as "river rats" by those in other nearby towns) was full of adventures year-round. I must share how this figured into our Christmases in another post, but I feel sorry for most of the kids in the neighborhood we live in today, who are scarcely seen all winter long.

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What a nice memory, Lindie. You are right, kids were given much more freedom back then. Today parent worry too much and want to protect their children from all eventualities, but it also gives them so much less of a chance to experience a kid's life.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:21AM
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gandle(4 NE)

Nice post lindie. Agree, cold or snow never kept us inside. Too many things to do outdoors. Too bad todays children can't experience some of the fun things from long ago.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:36AM
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River Rats always know how to have fun. Just sayin'....

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:22PM
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Great write, reminds of sledding in Waverly park and golf course in Des Moines and on some of the local hills in Urbandale. The tennis courts at school were flooded by the fire dept. for skating every winter and the ditches were frozen over so skating to school was fun too.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:34PM
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Nice memories!

We sat upright on our sleds, and I used my feet to press the "handles" to go the direction I wanted because I wasn't strong enough otherwise. I liked to bug the living daylights outta my sister and say, "isn't it eerie how quiet it is when it's dark and snowy?" and she'd go inside and I'd have the yard all to myself at night!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:29AM
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You'd better believe that River Rats know how to fun, at least we did a long time ago. Hope that's still true.

Yes to gandle and don. You were able to skate back and forth to school. That's cool.

Rob, I recall my brother being a pain. LOL You must have been much better at steering with your feet than I was.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 10:50AM
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All brothers are a pain (I have three, whom I LOVE. but oy! what pains). Yes, I am strong. I'm strong to da finish, cause I eats my spinach!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 10:53AM
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I'm a city girl and my friends and I had fun in the snow and in ice cold weather, We built igloos, icy snow hills and slid down on our "bottoms", we skated down to the local park, and skied to school. I can't ever remember that the city or the school closed down because of snow.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Thanks so much for sharing your lovely memory.
Reminds me of growing up in South Chicago at a time when neighborhoods were Neighberly hoods. Our school would flood the playground every winter fo everyone to come and ice skate and they had great bonfires and kids and adults would come out and play until they turned the lights out around 9 or 10 at night .
Thanks again

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 10:59PM
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Hey, thanks to Minnie and everyone else for your memories! Reading such things makes my day.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 6:53AM
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