Dec 1, 2014
Remembering winters of years gone by I often find myself embracing sweet memories.
Countless winters have passed by since then, each one with its own pure white, driven snow. I sometimes realize that it’s as if I’m a child again trudging through the snow to the tiny post office where I’d wait each morning for the school bus to take me to my grade school in St. Peter. I’d force my legs to push through the four blocks of snow covered alley-ways in Kasota; snow that was up to my knees every year before it would stop falling.
Arriving at John Ireland School, I’d climb down those tall school bus steps and my heart would beat fast with the wild anticipation of that 3 o’clock bell; the bell that meant we could go home and play for hours in the snow! Sometimes Mama would drive us to the St. Peter golf course where we’d slide down an enormous hill; the highlight of winter every year.
Many times though, I’d be invited to stay in-town after school and go to one of my friend’s house. Her parents owned Starken’s Grocery Store a few blocks from school. We’d open the front door to see a large display of candy bars and penny-candy. The floors looked so different back in the 1950s. Old, unfinished, worn wooden boards; dusty, boards that creaked as I’d walk across them.
Then, there were the old wooden floors in my grade school, but boards that were so well polished that one could almost see one’s face in them! I chuckle to myself at how silly things like floors, and deep snow could have made such a lasting impression on me. For several years in fact, I wondered why the winter snow falls were never as deep anymore. Finally, it dawned on me that it wasn’t the snow that had been so much deeper then, but how much shorter I’d been as a young child!
Grade school was scary for me at first. On the first day of school though, a little girl rushed over to me and began talking to me. Soon I had lots of little friends who replaced my fear with gladness.
One of my favorite times in winter were when three of us from the third and fourth grades would go Christmas caroling. Mama would drive us into town after supper, and pick us up by the Ben Franklin store as it closed. Residents would “ooh and awe,” then give us a small donation. At Ben Franklin we’d buy Christmas gifts for our mothers with the money we’d earned. I can still feel the exhiliration at being outdoors after dark all by ourselves!
I returned to that old school decades later. It looked just the same inside and out! My mind flooded with memories as my heart filled with feelings of nostalgia. I was so glad that I’d made that visit back-in-time. I’ve missed that little town of St. Peter, all these years, and I know I always will.
Jeanie Fredlund is a former resident of Kasota and St. Peter. She is also an author. Learn more at http://www.JeanieCookeFredlund.com.
Suzy Rook: Regional Managing Editor of The Le Center Leader, Le Sueur News-Herald, St. Peter Herald and Waseca County News.