I grew up in the Washington DC area. I remember rare snowfalls, perhaps one really good snow that stopped traffic and caused school cancellations, each year. Winter was cold, but I never owned a pair of snow pants and my winter boots also served as rain boots. Some people drove to Pennsylvania to ski, and I learned how to ice skate at the local indoor rink, but winter was mainly the time to pull out jackets and cut the grass less often.
When I married my husband, we moved to Groton, Connecticut. Winter came, and I discovered what WINTER really meant. My neighbor was born and raised in Minnesota. She explained that what I was experiencing was not an unusual winter, it was a typical winter this far North. I learned to buy coats for warmth, not just style. I learned that there were gloves and there were warm gloves. When it is really cold, I still will wear a pair of gloves and a pair of mittens covering the gloves. Mittens, where the fingers can warm each other, are far warmer than gloves. But gloves over mittens are even better.
I learned a scarf is not for show. You pull it up over your mouth and the heat from your breath helps keep your face warm. Hats need to go over your ears and not just perch at a cute angle on your head.
My own daughter needed not just one pair of snow pants growing up. They needed two, one pair was always drying. Snow boots were imported from Canada, and I even learned to sew polar fleece socks. Polar fleece, like wool, still can keep you warm even when you are wet. Polar fleece though does not itch! My polar fleece sock pattern is very easy, and I pick up polar fleece for little money in the remnant bin at the fabric store.
Now when winter hits I am prepared. Even as a teacher, I could survive the hour recess time we had after lunch. No matter how cold the weather, children in Vermont, where I taught, would be pushed out the door to play. The children stayed warm by playing and playing hard. The teachers, by wearing the correct clothing, and doing what we called the “bounce” where we would bend our knees and jump around a bit in place.
I came to believe, it’s not the weather, it’s being dressed for the weather!
One thing I happily discovered about New England, with all this snow, despite the cold, people are outside a lot more in the winter. Snow means X country skiing, snow boarding, sledding, and one of my favorites, snow shoeing. I adore snow shoeing as I am allergic to bees. Summer strolls in the local state park means dodging bees and other pesky insects. Snow shoeing in winter, no bugs and it’s fun to look at the tracks of all the wild life.
As winter approaches, I am going through my closet pulling out piles of polar fleece and coats, and wondering where the matches to various gloves and mittens are. Like socks, gloves and mittens, tend to not like to stay in pairs.
One thing I learned is that New Englanders take their big vacation during the winter. Summers are so mild and wonderful, why would anyone want to leave. But winter is another matter. There is even a whole week off school that seems to be just for vacations. Families either go skiing, or head someplace warm and tropical. Our family would head to Puerto Rico. Even New Englanders can have too much of WINTER!
- Winter Gloves (vintagesocialite.com)