Cold weather memories

Did you ever have a week where you worked really hard on stuff that no one ever notices? It still exhausts you, but where is the satisfaction of a job well done? For instance, this week I went through photo albums to start my sorting project. My mother cut out all of the wedding announcements for years, and made scrapbooks. I looked at page after page trying to figure out what to do with the articles. Pages of pictures of Eastern Star, what do I do with all of them? A day spent sorting, and it didn’t make a dent in my job. I know what I did, but it looks like I did nothing. Spring cleaning started early at Judy’s, she took down and washed all the items hanging above the kitchen cabinets, washed the walls, cabinets — both in and out — rearranged the contents, packed up what was not needed. Does anyone see this? Or did it look like a wasted week? We’re both exhausted from our “free week,” but no one else knows why.

If you are planning on going to visit at a local nursing home, be sure to call ahead. Due to illness, the homes are being closed to visitors to keep the residents safe.

We had several replies to last week’s column. Ellouise Cole sent best wishes: Those were the good ole day’s. Hope all is well with you Lula. I miss my friends but I’m better off here than I was in West Kill, like being so close to Drs and hospitals. My nephew and grandaughter are such a blessing to me, I thank God everyday.

The weekly sojourn to Jewett Nutrition Center added one new person, making us a table of 5. This week I made reservations for 8. Come join us!

The WAJPL Golden Age Club is hosting a bus trip to Proctor’s to see the musical “Cats.” A delicious lunch is included at the beautiful Glen Sanders Mansion, April 30. Cost is only $80. For information, please call Mary Louise 518-622-3397 or Vicky at 518-734-4164.

The CommUnity meal that was scheduled for last Saturday was postponed until this Saturday, Feb. 1 at St. Theresa’s 6-7:15 p.m. All are welcome and there is no charge, just a good time of food, fellowship and music.

Lexington UMC will be holding their TGIF chicken BBQ 3-6:30 p.m. Feb. 14. For advance tickets, call 518-989-6612. $12 for adults. $7 chicken half only.

Happy Birthday wishes (some belated) to the grandchildren of Vicky and Albin Beckmann, Lewis turned 21, the Beckmann twins are 15. Many best birtday wishes to Mickie Goettsche


As you know, we had a few cold days this week, nights down to near zero. Not too bad, considering it’s the end of January. My house hasn’t gotten cold enough to shrink and bang. In the ‘60s, the weather was so cold for so many days that the water in Windham froze from Welch and Grey’s Lumberyard to Mitchell Hollow Road. Bill and Dutch Laux of Stamford were called to come thaw pipes. By the time they reached Creamery Pond, the water was frozen again in the lower houses. Houses were not insulated and few had storm windows, so the wind and cold just blew through them. Then we moved from the Cave Mt. Motel to the Tuttle farm house. The farm house had 14 rooms in all, and was divided in half. Jim Mendenhall and his family lived on one side. He was a butcher buying calves and raising them for meat to sell. The home had a large furnace and kitchen stove for heat. Heat passed through register grates in the ceiling (floors in the upper story). Over the furnace, wood or coal burning, was a large register between the living and dining room. This was the primary source of heat for the house, also the best place to sit. During the winter, we put a wooden clothes drying rack over it and dried our laundry, and wet outdoor clothes.

But upstairs was a totally different story. The only warm spot was the register directly over the kitchen stove. The bedrooms were always frigid. On below zero nights, the water on your nightstand would freeze. You had to draw the drapes to keep the wind from blowing through, and there would always be ice on the inside of the windows. We would place towels and rags on the sills to try to stop any drafts.

After supper, mother would start heating bricks or soap stone on the kitchen stove. These would be wrapped in flannel or old towels and sent up to warm the bed before you got in. If you thought ahead, you’d take them up a half hour or so before you went to retire for the night so the sheets would be warm. Usually, you took them up with you and placed them at your feet. If you were sick, Mason Jars would be filled with hot water to cuddle up with. Lo and Behold, someone came home with a hot water bottle which was pliable and easier to form around your cold spot. I had one with a fleece cover that was in the shape of a lamb.

The next greatest invention was the electric heating pad, then the electric blanket and heated mattress pads. We could never imagine central heating where each and every room was as warm as 68 degrees.

Do you know the expression, “It’s a three dog night?” When it got cold, the temperature was judged by the number of dogs that cuddled next to you during the night. We would do anything to entice the dogs to our beds to ensure warmth.

We either dressed under the covers in the morning, or ran down to the kitchen to dress in the heat of the stove. Some cold mornings farmers would run to the barns because the heat from the cows would be warmer than the house. Ice would form in the watering cups for the livestock which had to be broken so they could drink. Because the houses weren’t insulated, icicles would go from the eaves to the ground making huge pillars. Watch out for falling ice was a real thing.

Can you picture people today living in such “primitive” conditions? If the heat goes off for a short time, they worry about freezing to death. The wind blows, turn up the thermostat. Bed covers and quilts are chosen for looks. Matching drapes and comforters is the rule. We piled on the blankets and quilts to snuggle in and keep us warm. Style and looks weren’t even considered.

What are your cold weather memories? We would love to share.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


(1) comment


Wonderful memories, Lula. The same was true on this side of the river in West Ghent.

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