Posted tagged ‘zippers’

“He that passeth a winter’s day, escapeth an enemy.”

January 19, 2016

Winter is here. Yesterday was freezing. Last night the wind never stopped. It surrounded me and was all I could hear as I was falling asleep. I wasn’t cold but I still snuggled under the covers as if I needed to keep the wind at bay. Gracie circled several times then plopped herself beside me. Fern followed suit but without the circling and on my other side. Gracie was the quickest to fall asleep. I heard her snoring.

Walking to school in the winter was chilliest at the beginning. Walking home was chilliest at the end. Every winter’s day I was bundled in a vast array of garments. Starting from inside out, I wore pink long underwear which came to my knees and a tee shirt under my blouse. My mother demanded we add a sweater, usually blue to match our uniforms, because our old classrooms had such high ceilings they were difficult to keep toasty. She figured we needed that bit of extra warmth. Knee socks came up high enough that only a small spot on each leg got cold. My jacket was thick and had a zipper. My mittens and hat were wool.

I remember at the end of the day being called row by row to the cloakroom so we could get our coats and stuff. We were always in rows: we sat in rows and we walked in rows usually 2 by 2 to go in or out of the school and to go to the bathrooms in the basement. If we needed to go during the day, we always asked for permission to go to the basement. Nobody ever called them the lavs or the bathrooms. That was one of the peculiarities of my old school. The cloak rooms were another.

Going home in the afternoon, I was never dressed as warmly as I had been in the morning. All my mother’s efforts to keep me warm were mostly undone. Sometimes I couldn’t get the zipper parts to join together so I left my jacket opened. I didn’t really like hats so mine was stashed in one of my pockets. My mother was never pleased.

But inside, I’m going, ‘Oh my God, is my zipper up? Do I have a booger in my nose?’ That’s my inner monologue.

April 11, 2014

What a surprise the morning brought: a cloudy, damp, chilly day. (You know of course that was tongue in cheek!)

I was up early to meet friends for breakfast and did one other errand then came home because my back had started to give me trouble. I still have two more errands on my list so I’ll go out this afternoon. This has been a busy week, the busiest in a long while, and I’m even going to the movies tomorrow to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. On Sunday I will rest. I will out sloth the sloths.

My favorite pie of all is lemon meringue. My mother always made it at Thanksgiving, an odd choice among the pumpkin and squash pies, but a popular choice in my family. My second favorite is blueberry. I never mix ice cream and pie or even ice cream and cake. I find the mixture off-putting.

I learned to tie my shoes when I was young. My first ties were loose but I got better and the ties got tighter. My method was simple and I think is the most common: make a loop with one end, wrap the other end around and pull a loop through the “hole” in the middle. I thought everyone tied their shoes in the same way then a friend did the double loop. She made a loop on each end then tied a knot with them. I was surprised. I tried it a few times but went back to the standard way my mother had taught me.

Buttons were easy. Each one had its own buttonhole though sometimes I’d miss a button and put the next button in the wrong hole. I’d end up with an uneven jacket. My solution was to start buttoning from the bottom. 

Zippers were the most difficult of all. Two sides had to be connected exactly the right way, and that was no easy task. My little fingers didn’t work well and one side would zip while the other didn’t because I had missed the connection. Sometimes cloth got caught in the zipper, and that was the worst. I used to zip my jacket before I put it on so I could see what I was doing then I’d slip the jacket over my head and zip it the rest of the way. I don’t know how old I was before I could zip while wearing the jacket. I remember it took a while.

I have only one pair of shoes with laces, sneakers actually. My winter coat, which I seldom wear, has a zipper. My shirts have buttons, but I don’t button them every time. I leave the shirts buttoned up and just slip them over my head. That’s the lazy woman’s way.

“June suns, you cannot store them To warm the winter’s cold..”

November 23, 2013

The weatherman says to expect a cold front starting tomorrow. I just bought a new hat, a wool knitted hat with ear flaps, so bring on the cold. I think I’m going to look quite fashionable.

This morning I watched leaves fall one at a time from the big oak tree by the deck. They fluttered as they fell. I watched the birds at the feeders, mostly drab gold finches, eating thistle and sunflowers seeds. When Gracie comes in from outside, her ears are cold. The other morning a thin layer of ice-covered the water in the bird bath. I don’t hear people outside any more. Winter is coming.

Winter brings back memories. I remember the hissing of the radiators in the house where I grew up and how the windows in the morning sometimes had a thin layer of ice on the inside. I’d use my nail to write my name. We always wore warm pajamas and sock slippers. For breakfast my mother made oatmeal and added milk and sugar. The walk to school was quickest in winter. The worst part of the walk was passing the field where the wind whipped across and seemed to go through every layer of my clothes to touch my bones. Getting to school was always welcomed. It was warm.

In winter there was never enough space in the cloak room outside my classroom. Winter coats were bulky and the hooks were small. I’d stuff my mittens and my hat in my sleeves then try to get my coat to hang. Sometimes it stayed on the hook while other times it was held up by the coats around it all jammed together. On the coldest days I’d leave my sweater on. The nuns didn’t care. They sometimes wore black ones with buttons.

Getting coats to go home was always done in rows. The nun would announce our row, and we’d get our coats and bring them into class and get dressed there while the other rows went and got theirs. Sometimes the nuns had to zipper coats. They never seemed to mind. I conquered zippers early though sometimes it took two tries. The hat came next and the mittens last. We’d stand in a line in the classroom until the bell was rung to dismiss us then we’d walk to the door and into the cold.

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.”

August 31, 2013

Despite my lethargy, I got everything done yesterday. I even took Gracie to the dump then brought her home so I could do my other errands without having to leave her in the hot car. The dump was unusually quiet. Sometimes I miss the old days with squawking seagulls circling the piles of trash. It wasn’t pretty, but it was interesting and loud.

I remember learning to tie a bow so I could tie my shoes. My mother was sitting in the chair by the picture window close to the door, and I was leaning on the chair’s arm beside her. She had a huge ribbon tied around a stuffed animal’s neck. I think it was a teddy bear. She tied the bow slowly, one step at a time, explaining as she went, and I watched. She tied it a few times then had me try. My fingers seem to have minds of their own. They didn’t go where I expected. They fluttered about as I held and tied the ribbon which knotted. My mother then guided my fingers as we tied the bow together. She did that a couple of times. I tried to fly solo again, and this time I did. I made a bow. It was loose and ugly, but it was still a bow. When I tied my shoes, the bow never lasted too long. I had yet to master the tightness of a good bow, but I did over time. My bows became useful and even pretty. I’d tie them with a flourish.

Being a kid meant learning new things all the time. I’d see a bug or a bird and want to know its name. Zippers gave me a bit of trouble. I knew what to do, but it wasn’t always easy to get the two bottoms to meet exactly right. Besides, zippers were in the wrong spot. They were below eye sight so it was often hit or miss.

I remember my first row-boat and rowing in circles. I just couldn’t coordinate the oars. My dad showed me what to do. He also taught me to swim. He was a great swimmer.

The red encyclopedias in our living room, the ones from the supermarket, got a lot of use. I would randomly pick a volume and read it. It was my way of learning new stuff. Every Christmas as a gift  I got that year’s Information Please Almanac. I loved filling my head with generally useless facts. Little did I realize back then their the value. Now those facts are called trivia, and I get to compete on Thursday nights in the winter.