Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Winter memories

Snow was in the forecast last night and today, and Redding saw a small accumulation and Cottonwood had flurries. We had rain, but nothing white. And it probably won't hit here.

It made me remember other snows in earlier years, though, especially one when I was little and we lived in Wayzata, Minn. Last night I was in that semi-dream state between awake and asleep, and could *see* the living room in our house there. I was about 5 or 6 and was in first grade -- which, incidentally, I hated -- and it was sometime near my birthday in November.

And it was snowing, big, fluffy, lazy flakes that drifted out of grey skies and covered everything. I watched it from our kitchen window, and then saw the mailman tromping up our walk with a package. And it was for ME.

It was from my Grandma Canfield and was a big book of stories and poems -- I remember getting a lot of books from my grandparents as a child because so I loved to read. This one was the kind they don't make anymore: large, maybe 8x10 or 11, heavy cardboard covers with a glossy illustration on the front. The inside pages were very thin and, as I recall, tore easily. But they were filled with what seemed like hundreds of stories.

I don't remember a time when I couldn't read, so I don't remember if my parents read it to me or if I read it first by myself. I had it for years, though, eventually coverless and tattered, although I don't remember specific stories. I just remember being thrilled at all those options, all those lovely words and images.

I was very attached to my security blanket back then, too, even as a first-grader, and I hated when Mother washed it. She'd put together a little, maybe 6-8" square, temporary blanket with the silky binding simply basted on it for those wash days (and remember that clothing and linens was all line-dried in those times, so in winter the wash was strung up in our basement for several days until it dried).

I was, at that age, also forbidden to bring the blanket out of my bedroom because as a first-grader, I was "too old" to be carrying it around. *sigh*

But I recall sitting with my new book in the living room, in a floral upholstered chair that was one of three that could go together to make a sort of loveseat, with the temporary blanket hidden behind my back and looking at the new book with one hand turning pages, one hand stroking the soft binding. I'd suck my tongue too, when I had my blanket, but I didn't realize then that while Mother couldn't see the hidden blanket, she could tell I had it in off-limits territory because my mouth moved!

In my drowsy state last night, I could *see* the upholstery, even feel the texture and that green scrap of woolen blanket with golden binding. The book cover was vivid -- it had a small child with curly blonde hair (one of those androgynous rosy-cheeked tots) reading a book in front of a blazing fireplace. I remembered the snow falling and the grey November winter.

It was a good memory. Maybe that's why I always have liked grey wintery weather -- I was safe, warm, happy, and I had a new book. Not a bad way to spend these days now, either -- safe, warm, happy, and with a new book.

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