I was looking at an old photo the other day and it brought back winter memories of when I was very young. We did not have a car, so when I was about 2 yrs old, my father started flooding what would have been our driveway to make a skating rink. As soon as there was enough snow to hold the water in, he would go out and clear the driveway of snow. It may have been about 30′ by 20′ and he would go out at night and hose water onto the frozen ground. After he did this for a few cold nights, we would have a skating rink. He did this every year until we bought a car and that was when I was a Jr. or Sen. in High School. As soon as I could walk good enough he and my mother put skates on and pulled me around on the ice on my sled, then they pulled me around with my boots on. As soon as I got old enough, probably around 2, I had skates on. We had the skating rink all winter. We had very little money, so my 1st skated were just metal skates that hooked to my boots. When I got my first pair of real skates, the were used, someone had brought them in to my father’s shop, and they were black boy’s skates. They came in handy for playing hockey though. When I got into high school I asked (begged) for a pair of white figure skates and got them for Christmas. They were beautiful, I loved them, but that was the end of playing hockey.
When my brother came along, they did the same with him. We went skating every winter. when we got older, we could go out to the edge of the woods to the pond they called “the pumping station” This was because when I was young, that is where the town water was pumped from. There was an upper and lower pond, and yes they did have names, don’t know what now, but we skated on the lower pond which was smaller, not as deep, and froze quicker than the upper pond. We were forbidden to go to the upper pond without our parents. We never went alone, there was always my brother and I and friends.
When the snow got too high to clean off, then we skated in the rink in the driveway. There were some really good hockey games played on that pond and some really fun figure skating. There were no town skating rinks in those days, you skated where you could find frozen ponds.
At the end of my street, there was a sand bank on the left side and a little further on were some fairly high hills, at least they looked that way when we were young. Everyone in our area came to ski on those hills. My mother had ski boots, my father and the rest of us wore those black boots that we pulled over our shoes. My father and mother had bindings, a leather strap that went around the back, but our did not have harnesses. There was just a strap in front to put our boot toes thru. Some people used elastics around the back to hold their boots in the straps. We walked up the side of the hill and skied back down. There we went back up beside the trail side ways or with one ski out on either side in a V. It was quite a way up so a person had to be in good condition to ski in those days. There was also a steeper hill below that one that a lot of adults used. I was in high school before I had courage enough to go down that steep one. When I first started skiing, I was only 2 or 3 yrs old, and I stood behind my father on his skis and held on to his legs. I did that until I was around 4 and had my own skis. There was a very little hill in my side yard that I and my brother practiced on and when we started skiing on the hills at the end of our road, we started on a small hill, out of the way of the adults.
I STILL REMEMBER ONE DAY WHEN I WAS 12 OR SO, GOING OUT 1ST THING IN THE MORNING ON MY SKIS GOING AROUND TO THE TOP OF THE HILL, AND LOOKING A PERFECTLY BEAUTIFUL SITE. THERE WERE NO TRAILS,NOTHING TO MAR THE SNOW, AND ON THE HILL I COULD SEE FOR MILES, WHITE SNOW WITH GREEN FIRE TREES. IT WAS GREAT TO BE ALIVE.