Thursday, March 20, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 20 - A Homage and Farewell to Old Man Winter

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge. I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.
Twelve Kinds of Ice
     Since this is the first day of spring, I'm going to write my homage to this doozy of a winter!  As much as I'm ready for spring now, I loved this winter.  I loved the snow, the snow days, the cold and ice.  I know - some of you don't understand me at all, but I like an exciting winter!  I'm reading Twelve Kinds of Ice to my fifth graders as an example of memoir and because it contains lots of figurative language and sensory details.  I love this book.  I can connect to it on many levels.  When I was a kid, winter seemed a lot colder and snowier than it does now (until this winter!), and ice was a daily part of it.  I love the enthusiasm Ellen Bryan Obed had for her childhood in Maine when winter brought them all kinds of fun.
     I wrote a little about this in a previous post, but I'm going to revisit it.  I can remember the first ice, just like Ellen describes it, when it just froze the top of the animals' water buckets.  Then it turned thicker and thicker until the buckets became frozen solid.  Going out before school to break that ice and refill all the buckets sure was cold!  The skim of ice on the pond became unbreakable, and we could walk and skate out onto it.  I remember skating parties with hot chocolate and bonfires, and the creek freezing solid, just like Ellen describes.  I can remember it being so cold it was hard to breathe, and I'd pull down my woolen facemask to keep my face from getting frostbitten.  There was even a time when the local news came and interviewed me about how to keep animals safe in the winter.  I have it on a video cassette tape - I showed them around the barn, giving tips about how to keep livestock warm, fed, and watered in the frigid temperatures.  So thank you, Old Man Winter, for spicing it up a bit this year and making it feel like the winters of my childhood.  And welcome, spring; it's time you came and took up residence - take your coat off and stay awhile!
                                                        Skating on the pond in 1975


  1. What a great way to combine mentor text and memoirs! P.S. I loved this winter too, but I'm also excited about spring!

  2. This was the first year that we actually had days off for ice storms. Weird and exciting. I enjoyed having some quiet time alone, inside where it was warm. I have a hard time imagining snow. I've only seen it a few times in my life and it was magical. I guess the magic doesn't wear off.

  3. Love the picture, Holly, love that book-just awesome the way she moves through the stories, and love your own story. This is going to be a great collection!

  4. What a great connection to a book. All of your posts are enticing me to go look at old pictures! I might have to make a visit to my mom's house!

  5. Your description had me shivering, Holly!

  6. Adorable photo and vivid memories! Thanks for sharing them with us. (I'm visiting from Linda's blog.)