Category Archives: childhood memories

The Cold Room

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When I was a kid, and our family lived with my grandparents, one of my favorite places was “the cold room”.

It was at the far end of the 2 room basement, on the back wall of my grandfather’s workshop.  To a little girl, the basement was a scary place -dark, and dreary, only partly finished, with some creaky linoleum in one room,  a b & w tv,  a chair, and a freezer chest ( I remember the cover of that freezer chest coming down one time and hitting my grandmother in the head- she may have had to get stitches!).

The basement had 5 windows, as I recall, 2 in the partly finished room, and 3 in Poppy’s workshop. The windows were small, rectangular casement windows that were above the outside window wells- their height even with the grass. There was not alot of light coming thru those windows, even on the brightest of days.

The best time for me to be in the basement was when my grandfather was at his woodworking bench.  Poppy always had time for me and my probably endless questions, and then, after bothering him a bit, I would wander over to the cold room.

The cold room was exactly that – COLD!!! I later came to learn, it’s real name was the COAL room! The house was built in the early 1900’s, so that little room was where the coal was stored- or so the story goes………

Even as a child, I had to duck my head to go into this little cubby.  Up a couple of wooden stepladder type steps, and down  2 or 3 stone steps.  Thinking back- I now think this space may have also stored all the canning jars of food put up way back then. There were narrow wooden shelves along the walls..they were perfect for stacking canning jars.

During the time my grandparents lived there,  those shelves held what to me seemed an endless supply of BOOKS!!

Worlds to travel to, stories to ignite one’s imagination- I was in cold heaven!!!

This was in the 1950’s -very early 60’s – but the books were from the 30’s, 40’s and maybe some 50’s.

It was here I first encountered Tarzan thru’ the words and imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs ( and later the tv version with Johnny Weismuller!), the books of Albert Payson Terhune (I think I have read them all), Black Beauty, Bobbsey Twins, Judy Bolton, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and who can forget Maida and her journeys all over the world.
nancy drew hagrid cornered

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There was also The Wonderland of Knowledge- an ancient encyclopedia set that I used for research, outdated as it was, for reports in elementary school. The encyclopedias were later moved upstairs to a bookshelf in the front foyer for easy access. That’s how I did my “googling”, without a nearby library, and in a  pre -computer world!

That little cold room was my own personal vintage library….

I think Grandma’s book collection set me on a lifetime path of reading – I was an amateur bibliophile in the works- and now, I can’t seem to pass up a vintage book that needs a home!!!

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Whenever I open an old book, and the scent of timeworn pages surrounds me- I am taken back to that “cold room”,  good memories of  time spent with  Grandma and Poppy, and the happy memories of escaping to  exciting new worlds with the characters within those  hardback covers……..

 

 

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PS- pictures just supplied by my brother, who recently drove by the old homestead- it may spoil your mind’s eye image of the house- it has been changed over the years, altho’ lovingly kept up and updated.If I can find my old pic of the original house, I will add it to this post….

Bottom right of the house, in the foundation is a tiny window- that one was over Poppy's workbench- the  cold room would have been under the front of the house, far left of the foundation in this pic

Bottom right of the house, in the foundation is a tiny window- that one was over Poppy’s workbench- the cold room would have been under the front of the house, far left of the foundation in this pic

Front of the house VERY updated- lots of trees and shrubbery are no longer there- all windows have been replaced, bay window added to the front parlor (there were tall individual windows all around that room, replaced by one bay)

Front of the house VERY updated- lots of trees and shrubbery are no longer there- all windows have been replaced, bay window added to the front parlor (there were tall individual windows all around that room, replaced by one bay)

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The Skateboard

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Since  it is Tea on Tuesday, here is a scene that I would love to be inside of- since my thermometer reads 10 degrees (maybe even 9!) at 7:30 am!

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                                                                                          Photo courtesy of LINK

Today, I would like to share a childhood memory that came to me while sipping my tea………

When I was a kid, skateboards were becoming the “in” thing to have. I remember a neighbor, Pam- I would like to think she was a friend- but really I think, most of the time we were frenemies.

Seemed like Pam had everything. She had a St. Bernard named Bernie, some bunnies in a hutch out in the back yard. She was popular- having grown up in the neighborhood I had only recently moved in to.

She was the doted on baby of her family, got everything her heart desired- in my child eyes.

Her grandma made clothes for her dolls and trolls. I did get Pam’s grandma to make a nitegown and cap for my favorite stuffed bunny (I still have it somewhere!) She probably felt sorry for me- and I am sure I was a pest!

Pam even got boobs before I did – and probably a boyfriend- and to show off that blossoming figure, had a brown madras dress I so coveted!!!!

Pam and I would play together, walk the ” balance beam” on the white board fence that edged her yard, put secret notes to each other in a tiny cubby in the fence post, and rescue baby animals together. When her rabbit had babies, I got one – named Joey, and my grandfather built him a wonderful hutch.

But, I digress…….

When the neighborhood kids started to get skateboards, Pam, of course, got the best one ever!!

Her dad had a great wood shop in his garage. He made this beautiful polished wood aerodynamically shaped skateboard that was the envy of the neighborhood – and ME!

I know I must have begged her to ask her dad to make me one – but she did not. In my mind, she loved to lord it over all that she had the best dad AND the best skateboard.

My parents knew how much I wanted a skateboard, and set about making one for my brother and I.

Dad did not have a wood shop, and was not that proficient in that area, as far as I know. But, he and my mom were talented roller skaters- so they had that going for them.

My mom was artistic- and they put together these skateboards and painted them for my brother and I.

Of course we loved them, but I’m guessing I did not appreciate them as much as I should have – being a kid that had been bitten by the green eyed envy monster.

My skateboard was “merely” a rough plank of wood- probably slightly larger than a 2 x 4- with roller skate wheels and painted by my mother. I think the paints were from my father’s model airplane paints – one of the boards was painted silver with a black arrow. Dad attached a little eye hook at the end, so the skateboard could be hung in the attic storage when not in use.

I know I spent endless hours riding that board down my street- but it in no way compared to the aerodynamic wonder Pam’s dad had crafted. Kids are cruel, and I know I did not appreciate what my parents had created for me- as I do now!

I still see that skateboard in my mind’s eye, and wish I still had it – when I could have passed it down to my kids. But, my son had a store bought skateboard- very modern, aerodynamic, and expensive. I hope he appreciated it back then, I think he did.

It is still in the basement – he won’t part with it…..