Last night my brother Bill and I talked about snow forts on Grant Street in North Camden in the fifies. Snow days! We’d stay out all day in our snow suits–mine gray and Bill’s blue–and build snow forts against the front of our row house. Neighbor kids, Butricas and Coppingers, were out there, too, with others whose last names I can’t remember. Somewhere we have black and white photos of us standing in front of the forts, grinning with our friends.
We came in the house for lunch, removed the wet newspaper stuffed into galoshes and put our wet mittens and socks on the heat register to dry. My mom insisted on a sandwich and a little time to warm up, but we couldn’t wait to go back out. How could we stay out all day with stinging cheeks and numb feet and toes?
One snowy weekend my good friend, Ruth, had planned an overnight and I couldn’t wait. She came to my house and we climbed on the piles of snow that the men had shoveled from the pavements. She slipped and broke her ankle. My dad carried her to her house on State Street. When she got back from the doctor (hospital?), she still had the overnight and I think it was three of us, Ruth, Gail and myself. Ruth was suffering, but she remained a gracious hostess. Perhaps we were in fifth grade because my family had not yet moved to Cramer Hill?
Walking in the snow was taken for granted. My dad’s parents lived on Fifth Street near the Ben Franklin Bridge and our family walked about six blocks to visit Nana and PopPop. I remember that my grandfather warned us not to eat the snow because there might be radiation in the snow blown from faraway testing and visiting adults scoffed at his advice. I had no idea what bad thing that radiation was, but I was sad that they disrespected what my grandfather said. He might have been right. No matter, I never put out my tongue for snowflakes again.
So many memories of snow…ha ha. The little kid memories are coming back, but there are so many more. One last … walking with friends to Woodrow Wilson High School from Cramer Hill over the 27th Street Bridge that is over the Pavonia railroad. The wind sure did blow. Did I wear a polyester type scarf that could slip in spite of being tied tightly? Did I carry my books in a plastic or a heavy brown paper bag so they would get protected from the snow? If your books got ruined, you had to pay for them. Not every snowy day was a snow day so we did walk in the snow. What? Why didn’t we have book bags?
So, dear readers, I wonder what your snow memories are?
Love from Cramer Hill,
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra
P.S. I’m laughing. In 2016 part of my blizzard preparations are to charge my cell phone, Kindle and laptop. How times have changed!
Be safe, my friends.