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Winter is Memories

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?This is nothing compared to back East,? says my dad for the hundredth time this week. On the television, news anchors carry on their meaningless chatter as I keep my eyes fixed on the school names at the bottom of the screen.

I?m cocooned in my fleece blanket because no matter how cold it gets, the heat in my house always stays on the same setting: not warm enough. With the soft fabric against my skin, I want even more to climb back into bed for a snow day.

The alphabetical school names crawl their way into the ?W?s. Finally, I catch the flash of text that I want??Westfield Washington Schools: 2-Hour Delay?.

My dad sighs. ?People out here don?t know what real snow is like.? To him, being from Boston was a badge of pride.

But I know what ?real snow? is like. I remember those Bradford, Massachusetts winters back when I was five or six. They were the winters kids dreamed about and adults cursed year after year after year.

The day would start with sunlight reflecting off of the snow and into my bedroom window at seven in the morning. It almost hurt your eyes, like when switching on the light first thing after waking up. No matter what, the beaming snow would wake me up at sunrise, but I wouldn?t mind. The snow was calling me. I could hear it because the cawing crows of South Williams Street always headed south for the winter.

When I?d go downstairs, winter was the smell of hot chocolate in the kitchen.

I?d open the back door so I could assess just how much snow had fallen and what kind of snow it was?snowball snow, sledding snow, or everyone?s least favorite, melted-by-noon snow. While opening the door, I?d be pushed back like someone was on the other end trying to keep me inside. Snow packed around the door on the back porch the door was stuck only a few inches open. That was a sure sign of snowball snow.

Before I could go outside, I?d feel the cool smoothness of vanilla-scented hand cream being rubbed on my hands, which were always raw even before meeting the winter weather. Unfortunately, that hasn?t changed much for me.

Padded up in every clothing item I owned, I felt myself get heavier and heavier until the final zipper was zippered and button was fastened. The whole ensemble gave the impression of a spacesuit. It now remind me of the movie A Christmas Story, in which the main character?s brother can?t even move his arms after being suited up for his expedition to school.

Now, in New England, you?d have school even with a foot of snow on the ground (and every snowstorm brought at least that!). If I were up early enough, I could see the snow still perfect and uninterrupted by the day?s activities. The snow was the purest white I?d ever seen; even this paper has nothing on its complete absence of color. When I?d step in it I?d feel the crunch of the top layer of snow that would turn crisp with the below freezing temperatures. My foot would sink to the ground with my socks soaking up all the moisture they could from the snow.

Snow would cover every surface?the pool cover, the deck, the swings on the swing set. All color would be hidden beneath the blanket of white. The stairs off the back were ambiguous; I couldn?t tell where one stair stopped and the next began. As the day went on, I would unmask the backyard?s crystal disguise, wiping snow off of the swings and bushes and stairs.

As a 15-year-old girl in Westfield, Indiana, I have adopted a rather negative view of winter. Damp socks are uncomfortable, getting suited up is a pain, and you can?t find a decent sledding hill anywhere in flat old Indiana. It?s less than magical.

Now, winter is memories.





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