Monday, February 7, 2011

Past and Present: Snow Daze

Man, we've been blasted around here with snow lately. That's one of the perks of living in this part of the US; snow. Not to mention the lack of sunshine, temperatures barely going above 30, slush, shoveling, freezing, scraping, school closings, accidents, power outages... need I go on? But before I talk about snow, I have a question that no one seems to be able to answer. This area was very rich in American Indians. Chippewa, Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa and others called Ohio home. Since we know that winter was a difficult time for Indians, do you think they ever knew that they could walk about a month south and never brave another Ohio winter? Hmmmm...

OK, now to Thoreau Ave. in Akron, circa 1968 or so. All of us kids on the street LIVED for the snow. Our street was somewhat of a hill so if it got real slippery, you could ride your sled down the middle. Granted, it wasn't much of a hill so you really didn't go very fast but you did move some. The best thing though, was the woods that surrounded our neighborhood.

Thoreau Ave. dead-ended right into the woods. You could walk into the woods on level ground for several hundred yards, but then the woods dropped steeply into a valley type of thing with a creek at the bottom. This made for some killer sled riding hills - right in our own backyard.

Back in those days, there were no plastic sleds and everyone had the wooden-slatted sleds with metal runners on them. You could either lay flat or sit upright with your feet on the steering handles. We would go blasting down the hill in the woods and have to be careful we didn't fly into the creek at the end. Now this happened to me once. I couldn't stop and my sled and I went out onto the creek and my foot promptly broke through the ice and my boot filled up with freezing creek water. Well, that was the end of my day of sledding, and I cried all the way home with a frozen foot while the neighborhood kids laughed and laughed.

Another time, my good friend Lori Vannatter and I had an accident on one of the hills in the woods. If I'm not mistaken, she ran over my ankle and somehow my sled cut her ear open - hahaha! I can't even imagine how that happened! I think we both stomped out of the woods mad at each other.

Ahh, those were the days. We would literally stay outside from morning till dark and play in the snow; sledding, shoveling driveways for cash, building snow forts and snowmen and on and on.

For some reason, the snow isn't that fun anymore. How about you? I'd love to hear your comments and snow stories!


  1. I am sure it is not as fun any more because your just getting older.....with a big birthday coming this Sunday. We should go sledding soon, we could get those plastic disks and just fly down the hills! Sounds like a great date night! I am game if you are!
    Love ya!

  2. You have me thinking about what fun we had growing up on Thoreau. The woods was a year round playground, but winter it was paradise. We'd put breadbags on our feet under our boots for extra dryness, bundle up and head out for hours. We had those great wooden sleds that you steered with your feet. We had our preferred less treed hills we would sled down. Seemed like it took forever waiting for the sledder to drag the heavy wooden sled back up the hill by the twine-like rope tied to the front of the sled. That's how the double sled mishap occured. I was waiting for you to get up the hill, I thought I could lean a swerve around you, I thought you'd look up & see me coming and move out of the way. Well that's not what happened. The sleds collided and we both got hurt. I'm sure we both went home mad. Wonder if any of the Cooper kids saw? I'm sure we were back in the woods the next day playing or at least to look for the blood in the snow. I'm so glad we had that woods, we were lucky. I don't think of the snow the same way anymore but it was great to remember how I used to feel about it. Fun, fun fun. we were fearless little kids.
    Thanks for the memories,