I finally finished scanning all of dad’s slides onto the computer. It came to a grand total of 1,002 images. It touched years from 1953 to 1972 and covered multiple Christmases, Halloweens, picnics and vacations. Each photo yanked me back to the time of its taking; I could hear the sounds and breathed in the smells of that moment in time. It pulled me back and wrapped me in the loving warmth of a really terrific childhood.
I was a lucky kid and it was evident in all of the pictures taken surrounded by loving parents, relatives, and neighbors. I talked to mom about what fun it had been scanning and sharing them. We had to laugh at memories of dad dragging out the slide projector, to our silent groans as the lights went off and show began. He loved looking at them, we dreaded reliving what had just happened months before, at that time it seemed so pointless.
Forty years later it has been a kick to see just how many cowgirl costumes one child could have. It seemed Roy Rogers had taken over the clothing industry and we all looked like modified shiny throw backs to the wild wild west. Red seemed to be the most popular color of the time, what respectable 1800s cowboy would have worn a bright red hat and boots!
For Halloween mom had made my brother and I matching clown costumes when we were about 2 and 3 years old. She took us to a Halloween party and won first prize. I remember wearing those costumes for several years, built large around the middle they could more than accommodate the winter coat that you had to wear in order not to freeze while begging for candy in Pennsylvania’s snowy October weather. People in the south can’t imagine stuffing on a winter coat for Halloween as it is usually at least 60 degrees here. The whole winter coat thing had a tendency to wreck havoc on the design of a costume, fairies and ballerinas didn’t have the same delicate graceful effect when bundled in coats and boots.
And then there was winter, like no other, it was cold, ok, and it was pretty. It was pretty until you had to shovel to get out in it and then shovel to get back in every day. For those who have never experienced real snow, it goes everywhere, down your boots, up your sleeves and you never have handy the tools to fight it. We won’t even discuss the slush that shows up when the weather warms and lays in wait under a thin layer of fresh snow to rush into your boot when your unsuspecting foot plunges in it. People in the south get excited about the drifts of snow that appear, at first filling the sky with what looks more like dust and then settles on the grass, politely emptying the streets and sidewalks. Usually by noon, after closing all offices and businesses, it takes its leave.
I have tried to describe what playing in the snow is like for a Yankee, the socks, shoes and boots, layer pants, at least two, and tee-shirt, shirt, sweater followed by snowsuit jacket and pants. Top all of this off with mittens and two layers of hats and tie it all shut with a scarf around the neck tied tight. Now that you have reached the point of immobility it was time to go play. You would waddle your way out into the snow, waved out the door with a “have fun” when that cold air hits the only exposed flesh left, your face and realize, you should have hit the bathroom first.