Elizabeth Winter Memories

By Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH-Here are great winter memories from reader, Barbara Cook:

“When I was little kid I looked forward to winter because I had a sled. Now all I had to do was find a hill that my mother would let me go on. Her idea of a hill and mine were far apart. I’m thinking Mount Everest and she’s thinking speed bump. If my dad or Uncle John could be talked into it, we’d head over to Wyoming Avenue. That was a fantastic sled hill. I don’t think mom ever did see it or I know that would have been my last trip I took there.

“She did absolutely forbid Galloping Hill Golf Course, because she heard that a kid had been hurt there once. The rough part was mom would sit in the car and watch. She could measure the angle of a hill from a mile away. My dad let me know that if I ever got a scratch, mom would make sure I never saw the sled again.

“Sometimes me and my friends would leave the sleds at home and find cardboard boxes to flatten and use as sleds. They worked well when there wasn’t much snow on the ground. Also, that way mom didn’t have to know what I was up to.

“Then there were ice skates…’nuff said. If there was a gold medal for falling on your butt…I would have been in the Olympics! I remember when the lake in Warinanco Park looked frozen over. There would be people skating on it. If someone was checking how deep the ice was they sure were discreet about it. You could pick out the soft spots easily enough. That’s when you’d see the crazy boys headed for them at top speed to see how far they’d get before it cracked.

“They had a stove in a little shack near where the rowboats were stored. Everyone knew that was where the teenage dramas were played out. Girls in cute sweaters and skating skirts with pom-poms on their skates would sit there and look cute while the boys would stand around and drool. I was too young to care about that and when I got old enough…I knew I was no good at all on ice skates.

“Then there were the snowball wars! We would make a snow fort and then defend it from the other armies that would try to capture it. I was really good at making snowballs, so I was in demand. I even learned a dirty trick from Otis, who was my friend Janice’s little brother. He showed me how to make a “spit-snowball.” Sort of adding insult to injury. You pack it really hard and just before you throw it, you slobber a bunch of spit on it. I was a champion slobberer, if this is a word.

“Then Otis made the mistake of praising my abilities at “spit-snowballs” to his mother. She had a “little talk” with me. Something about acting lady-like? I wasn’t about to tell her that Janice not only threw “spit-snowballs”, but she made them with bits of ice in them.

“Childhood…A wondrous time when we learn all about life.

“Uh, YES!…I did teach my kids about “spit-snowballs.” I also told them not to tell anyone else about them so they wouldn’t have to worry about getting hit with one.”

If you want to see more “Remembering the Past” columns in 2009, please start sending your memories or past material!

If you have your own memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway you can email me at dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send “copies” of your material to me c/o CMD Media, P.O. Box 1061, Rahway, NJ 07065.

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