[M.M.X.I.V. 27] Hazy shade of winter long ago

I guess with this title, I’m forcing myself to embed a certain video.  (Though, when searching for it, I never realized that the version by The Bangles is actually a remake!)

This post was inspired by the wind chill warning this morning, and my choice to have hot chocolate with my breakfast.  It reminded me of days long ago, back when my family lived in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

It didn’t always snow very much in Fort Dodge, but it DID tend to get very cold.  The wind chills would dip to minus-40 or lower, which prompted a lot of days with school cancellations, or the dreaded late starts and/or early dismissals.  Yet, even on cold days, we still usually had recess outdoors.  We were allowed to wear snowsuits and play in the snow!

But, the memory that I have is of when my family took sleds and toboggans to the playground at Cooper Elementary School.  Being so long ago, I can remember the details of the scenery, but the description will be bereft of dialogue.

It was a cold Saturday or Sunday in the winter, probably about 1994 or 1995.  With my siblings and me, as well as Mom and Dad, all dressed in snowsuits and heavy winter coats, and six people in a seven-person van, also filled with sleds and toboggans, we entered the neighborhood of Cooper Elementary School, via Kamme Drive.  A short four blocks led to a left turn.  At 26th Street, a clearing at the two-o’clock position from houses appeared, and a field full of snow led to the school.

We turned into the parking lot, in the middle of a basketball court that was obviously not in use at the time.  We all got out of the car, and unloaded the sleds and toboggans.  Because there weren’t any hills on the playground, Mom and Dad took turns pushing or pulling us (none of us were older than 8) across the snow-covered grounds.  From the facade of the school, several indents were filled in with snow drifts.  The tetherball poles looked like the goal posts from Super Mario World to me, and we continued past the corner of the gym onto the playground.

Following the facade of the school, at least until where the blacktop would have been, we neared the room for Mrs. Wilson’s kindergarten class.  A large hill of snow mirrored the geodesic dome playground equipment that they somehow let us play on, in, and around during recess.  And, in the back yard of the school, the toboggans and sleds ran past tires bonded to the ground, as hiding places for tag games (or maybe hiding places for mischievous kids when the recess whistle blew!)

(Hmm.  That’s an idea–a blog post about recess and me back in those days.)

After a while in this, it got too cold for all of us.  Packing up, we drove the short distance home and Mom and Dad made us all hot chocolate.  It was complete with playing Monopoly, at least until our attention spans couldn’t take it anymore.  Mom had told us of times in her childhood when Monopoly games would last many, many play sessions.  Yet, in today’s society, how many people want to “quick-save” the state of a board game?

The times were so simple back then, and thinking of it nowadays, I wonder what I would have thought of it if the “current” me were to go back to that memory.


Today is the twenty-seventh day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes three weeks and six days.


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