Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Frosted glass

I took this picture of an iced-over window in my house because it reminded me of growing up in Buffalo, NY where in the winter, all the windows in our house would be frozen like this, for weeks at a time. In other words, not only were the days short and dark--and you can sometimes go for a month in a Buffalo winter without seeing even a glimpse of sunshine--but the windows were perpetually frozen so you couldn't see outside. It was bleak.

My bedroom, a large room on the windy southwest corner of the house was more icebound and frozen than any other room in the house. The thermometer that my father set on my dresser would register an indoor temperature in the low fifties in my room. My parents figured it was because of the relentless winter winds and the large size of the room combined with a small heat register. I would do my homework kneeling on the floor, using my bed as a desk, until my fingers were too numb to hold a pencil. The wind would whistle and shriek through the cracks in the storm windows and the chill hardwood floor would numb my feet. My toes used to erupt into agonizing itchy blisters. I later learned these blisters were called chillblains, a medieval sounding malady that tortured me every winter until we moved to Virginia. Years later, my parents had major work done to the house and it was discovered that the heating duct leading from the furnace had never been hooked up to the duct in my bedroom.

Bleak indeed. On the other hand, I liked bleak. I think I am genetically programmed to be drawn to the bleak. My favorite childhood books were about girls who faced poverty and hardship. I wanted to be an orphan, or a pioneer girl. I gloried in my freezing bedroom. It made it that much easier to pretend I was Laura Ingalls or Sara Crewe. It was a tiny piece of the past in the midst of the soulless, affluent, suburb in which we lived.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for visiting my site :D
    Charlottesville is growing on me...but not the cold weather!