Snow Falling on Anchor Road

Every single memory of snow in my childhood is pleasant. Sparkling flakes in luminous free-fall as I look out the kitchen window. Snow festooning evergreen boughs. Then bundling up in snowsuits, knitted caps, mittens. Getting out the sleds.

After more than one snowstorm, Aunt Ruthie grabbed her movie camera and trained her sharp eye on some big, tall sledders who went coasting down the hill from our house to Grandma Longenecker’s.

Then she captured our anticipation of trumping through nearly hip-high snow and finally (my favorite) Mother pulling my sister Janice and I on the Flexible Flyer sled along Anchor Road.


Another parent and daughter are observing the snow in The First Snowfall by American poet James Russell Lowell, a poem I remember Mother reciting.

FirstSnowfall1

Mabel marvels at the beauty of the snow and inquires of its origin . . .

First Snowfall2

. . . but as the father’s replies to Mabel, he remembers the snow which hides the scar of another child’s burial plot.

FirstSnowfall3

Then Mabel feels her father’s gentle kiss, a kiss she will never know was intended for the daughter beyond his touch. The last stanza leaves Mabel in child-like wonder, her father in pensive grief.

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This post began with snapshots of fun in the snow and ended with a reflection on loss. But snow can be the setting for other memorable events: a frolic with friends, a car accident, a marriage proposal (I’ll save that for another post!)

You probably have memories of snow, recent or long ago. Here’s your chance to share them.

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46 thoughts on “Snow Falling on Anchor Road

    1. You have to navigate through the streets and roads near Philadelphia, so I understand the inconvenience. But new fallen snow on the lawn must be quite a spectacle. I do miss the quiet calm of falling snow. There were reports of snow flurries here in north Jacksonville this week. On the videos I saw, they showed up as sparkles in the air; it didn’t last!

      I am glad you enjoy the home movies. This is a busy road now, not the playground for snow sports I remember. Thanks, Merril!

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  1. I know my inner child is alive and well each time I wish for snow as verdently as my kids do. I have so many fun memories as a kid in Colorado. But nothing compares to the rare Carolina snowfall with my kids now.

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  2. What priceless videos to have! I remember well the snowy and frigid winters of my Saskatchewan childhood: building snow forts with my sister, skating on the rink Dad made, sledding on a sled that looked very much like the one in your video, freezing fingers and toes, and sitting in a tub of tepid water to thaw out after an especially cold day. These memories are treasures to be sure. Thanks for reminding me.

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  3. Love your memories and videos. I loved the first snows when living in St Louis. That first night when everything was covered in white. Looking down our street so quiet and peaceful.

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  4. You are so fortunate to have those memories recorded. I have only a few snapshots remaining from my childhood. None of which involve snow. Did you see the flurries. My husband said it once snowed flurries in Orlando, but that was before my time. GA would get about three snow days a year, and EVERYTHING shut down, except the hospital where I worked. I would go to work in a four wheel drive truck.

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  5. I have commented before and I will comment again. It’s wonderful you have the video in digital form. Note to self: Start on that right away. It will be a gradual process loading them once I figure out how or contract someone to do it. As a matter of fact, I remember one particular home video of three of the four of us siblings in the snow in a neighborhood suburb of Philadelphia.

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    1. I would love to see your movies too, Georgette. There are many video transfer services that you probably know about that take film from decades ago and re-master it into an Mp4 format (probably) or a CD.

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      1. Yes, I remember driving on Anchor road years ago. Down where your aunt lived, across the road was someone named Harvey Hoffman,? He had an old steam engine. I remember my Dad talking about him.

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        1. Yes, you are right about the hill which stretched from our house to just past Aunt Ruthie’s house. Harvey Hoffman lived there are a long, long time. Now there is a young family living there.

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  6. Your family pics and poetry are so lovely Marian thank you for sharing it.
    I remember being 13 in 1974 and having some of those stretch boots with a patent shoe area . You could have them in black white or red . Mine were red , bright bright red , and I went out walking proudly in them in the snow …red on white were stunning . I thought I was the bee’s knees .
    Cherryx

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  7. Thank you for sharing your videos — how precious and wonderful to have. I have many memories of snowy winters and outdoor activities in my childhood in NH. I used a sled and wore a similar snowsuit at that age. This is my first visit here, but not my last. Lovely sharing memoir thoughts. ~Joyce

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  8. Marian — I always enjoy watching video-clips of your old home movies! Len and I have enjoyed the moderate dusting of snow here in Boise this year. After 20 winters of digging and snow-blowing our way out of the cold-wet-white-stuff, this feels tropical in comparison.

    Now you’ve got me curious about the marriage proposal. Can hardly wait for that post!

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    1. I wonder if you chose Boise partly because of the weather patterns; however, thinking of it as tropical makes me as a Floridian chuckle.

      I’ve written about the marriage proposal, I think, but have not published a post on it. May it will make it into my memoir – who knows. Stay warm, Laurie.

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  9. I remember great snow days on Anchor Rd. Shanti and I would play on the road. I’d pull her on a sled and Mom and Dad would smile through the window. Now I believe of their memories of all of you playing. Great times. I love the snow. Last year I was in my glory because we had so much of it. For Christmas last year we took the kid to Disney since it was our first year without Linda. Although the kids had fun we took the pain of not having her here. I so wanted to get back to the cold weather and snow. I felt as if I didn’t have a Christmas last year. Made up for it this year. Enjoy your heat and I my lovely cold.
    Gloria

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    1. You are perfectly placed in Chicago with the snow and wind. I think I’ll stay in Florida, but I do like to see snow in PA when I visit in the winter, especially at Christmas time. Glad to hear you are seeing happier days now, Gloria.

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  10. A lovely poem – sad, but beautifully expressed. Your photos and post remind me of how much I loved winter: ice skating down a hill intended for sledding, sledding with my parents and with my brother, and then the best of all: a hot of cocoa to warm us up when we came in. Thanks, Marian. 😉

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  11. Marian, these videos remind me so much of our own home movies. What a treasure! Your reflection is beautiful, so bittersweet; the intermingling of carefree, innocent childhood romps and adult heartaches. I’m looking out at snow-covered woods as I write this and recalling my own snow-based memories. Life. I love your posts. They always take me places. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. We can move backward and forward in time through words and pictures. How heart-warming to read that these words take you to pleasant places. Dr Seuss said it so well “Oh, the places you’ll go.” And pretty soon we will be going places together – fun!

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  12. Marian, somehow my outstanding memories around snow involve times when we had to persevere against nature and battle the snow drifts to get home, sliding in a ditch, walking two miles to get home, pulling someone else out of the ditch, traveling eight miles on treacherous roads to pick up a daughter after a slumber party–when normally we wouldn’t have ventured out at all.

    Perhaps it is the struggle and the effort to deal with a force of nature that is thankfully something so much less than a tornado, hurricane or earthquake, but something more than a thunderstorm that calls out the best in people, helping them bond over shoveling out, helping each other, getting warm. Those are my rambling thoughts!

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  13. Thanks for adding a realistic touch here. I was careful to specify at the beginning that the memories I was sharing had to do with childhood.

    Some scary things happened in the snow as I got older, especially after I was at the wheel. One time in particular I remember driving the blue Studebaker and didn’t have enough steam to make it up a snowy hill. You guessed it, I slid down the hill in reverse and came to a standstill crosswise. Fortunately, my brother was riding with me, and he ran to the top of the hill to make sure no one would hit us broad-side.

    When I was in college at EMC I was a passenger in a car that flipped over in the snow and landed upside down. Of course we were not wearing seat-belts, so I suffered a knee laceration but otherwise came out okay.

    Thanks for sharing your snow-covered anecdotes, Melodie.

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  14. In my youth when I lived in Spokane, WA and when we had some beautiful packable, but not icy snow, my brother and I would drag out our sleds and head west on Queen Avenue and start our sledding venture. Although we lived in the suburbs we could sled down several long street blocks that had a steep grade. Exhilarating going down but hard work getting back up the hills.

    We were too poor to have snow outfits, so as our blue jeans got soaked and then froze, we walked very woodenly back home. After taking a barely-warm bath to thaw us out, my Mom heated up milk and poured it over bread into a bowl. After slurping that down, a good night’s sleep wasn’t far away.

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  15. I’m wondering if I was sledding down the Clark farm hill at about the same time you were enjoying Anchor Road. I too had a snow suit. Grandma Hess bought it for me at Hager’s. Those videos make so much more come alive than pictures do. I love when the camera rests on a face (yours?).

    My father worked with a neighbor to create an alternate route for the milk truck to get to our farm during a huge snow storm of 1959? I have photos of snow stacked several feet high and remember the drama of how to save the milk (and the milk check!) from destruction.

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  16. The camera rested on Janice’s face, my younger blonde sister. I wore the dark coat. Jean is not pictured here, so I imagine I was 5, Janice 2 and my mother, probably pregnant. The movie was shot about 10 years earlier than the blizzard you remember, but we had massive snowstorms back then, as now. From your Facebook page I see you are enjoying Florida sunshine and warmth. 😉

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