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Snow Princesses

Going outside in the dark to play was a given and on nights when snow was falling we could hardly get through supper before putting on double layers of everything to fly out the door. Our usual routine was pushing through the yet-to-be shoveled sidewalks a sled behind us to the little store a few blocks away. One of us might get a free ride going over but coming home we'd tie a cardboard box to the sled to hold whatever groceries our moms had requested.

As if heavy snow alone wasn't magical enough, Mr. Olson, the dad of one of our regular gang of kids decided to build an ice rink. Normally, I made do almost daily on frozen puddles at the nearby park but, tree roots every few feet made for rough going. That rink was ingenious, it drew in other kids from along the block and got even better with lights, music and refreshments served by Jeff's mother. When the cold snap was over, it was back to devising our own entertainment. Someone had the bright idea, one slushy night to grab onto a car's bumper to hitch a ride. The driver, another neighbor saw us in his rear-view mirror, came to a stop and gave us an angry lecture. We lived in terror of being reported, but, by some miracle, it never happened. We knew we'd gone way too far and from that night we made safer and smarter decisions.

At the end of the night, back inside mom would shoo the cats out of the dryer and load in our dripping clothes, socks and shoes. (The cats retired to the dryer's warm top.) Rubber overshoes got stuffed with newspaper and left to air dry overnight, ready for school in the morning. The thump, thump, thump of the dryer was a comforting sound through the house and before dropping off to sleep, a reminder of a fantastic night of freedom and owning a world filled with snow. Perhaps homework was not given because I don't ever recall missing out on all-important fun to stay in and do it.

Write down your memories of your special times as a kid in a journal designed for just that purpose. You'll be glad you did. One memory will spark another and before long you'll have a collection of anecdotes and memories of less complicated days to share with a new generation of little kids.

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