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Winter meant hardship, fun in bygone days

After a savory, hot breakfast of oatmeal or cornmeal mush with toast, the latter made over the kitchen stove in a hand-held wire toaster, we kids would want to go outside to play.

There were so many fun things to do in the winter: build snowmen, make snow-forts, go snowshoeing, or riding down hills on sleds. But first after we got bundled up in our warm clothes, there were chickens to feed, eggs to gather, and a pail of water to be brought up from the well. We also carried in wood for the fires if the wood box was low - Only then we could play.

The bundling-up process to go outside took plenty of time, first the long johns, then long cotton stockings with wool socks to the knees or over them, then the lined winter snowpants, the shoes and boots, a heavy sweater, a coat, mittens, hat and scarf. With all these clothes on, one could barely move about. When we got freezing cold, we'd go in to warm up again and to get dry mittens. Our boots were then called "over shoes" because they did go over shoes. The boots had buckles to fasten them shut.

This is how we had to dress every school morning to walk the mile or more to the one-room school house. If the wind was blowing we could pull the scarf up over our mouth and nose, leaving just our eyes exposed. By the time we arrived at school, the teacher had the huge circular woodstove throwing off heat to warm us up.

Looking back at these cold days would anyone want to revisit the good old days? Remember, there were no "heat tapes" to go around the two holer seat!

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