When I was growing up north of New York City, our small backyard bordered the woods. One hundred yards into the woods and you’d reach a wide, quickly moving stream.
The woods were the greatest playground in the world all year long, including winter.
Winters could be very cold and snowy and windy. Didn’t worry me a bit. I had two Army Blankets for my bed. Real Army blankets from World War II that Dad gave me.
It was the mid to late 1950s and it seemed all my friends’ dads had been in the war. One dad had been at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked, another had been at the Battle of Midway. My dad was one of the soldiers who liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp. My mother lived in London, England during the daily bombings.
Having the two Army blankets my dad gave me meant the world to me. 100% Virgin Wool they were, with one Army-Navy supply site reporting the “Army Wool Blanket was made in mustard yellow olive brown color and measures about 61” x 74”.”
They were the warmest blankets in the world. I don’t remember ever needing both blankets to stay warm. I’m sure I did. After a cold day of outdoor winter play, crawling under an Army blanket my dad gave me was a moment in heaven on earth.
We had some heavy, deep snowfall winters too. A snowfall is meant to be played in, rolled on, and used to create. Making snowmen and snow forts was part of your evolutionary growth. Rubbing a bar of soap on the blades of my Flexible Flyer sled so I could fly (not slide) down Van Buren Street’s hill was why the word exhilarating was born.
And then, home for dinner with family. And not long after that, I’d go to bed and spend a moment in heaven on earth.