Peggy and Ruth

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: I just found this photo, purchased a little over a year ago. Somehow it has been overlooked, but today seems like the right day for it finally. For many of us this past week was smacked with a weather front we now refer to as a polar vortex. While it plunged our compatriots in the midwest into negative double digit weather, closing offices and schools and terribly even killing a number of people, here in New York it was just very, very cold, requiring many more layers of clothes than we wanted to wear and waddling like down covered penguins as a result.

In the midst of it we experienced something called a snow squall, which I admittedly liked the name of very much, but the experience of a bit less. I saw it from a conference room at work, overlooking the south end of Columbus Circle and within view of the southwest most corner of Central Park. We could barely see out the window and the wind was so bad it snowed upward! For a little more than an hour it poured snow and pounded Manhattan. Visions of pioneers struggling through sudden deadly storms came to mind, although we remained safe in our office tower perch. It resulted in a sheet of ice covering all the sidewalks which somehow the denizens of buildings responsible for snow removal didn’t see fit to address.

Of course my relationship to bad weather was quite different as a child, as I am guessing is true for at least most of us who experience childhood in the suburbs. For me, childhood hurricanes brought floods caused by the nearby river and had a holiday effect, a cause for excitement as water rushed around the house and under the floors, chilling them, ducks quacking at the backdoor. (I think about that now and how my mother was often home alone with us, three small children, when it happened – Dad off at work in New York or traveling as often as not. Mom was and remains, one tough cookie.)

Snow was of course the best because it resulted not only in a day off from school, but in ice skating (that same river flowed into smaller tributaries that froze solid) and sledding. Now, before I create an image of a sylvan childhood of Rockwell-like jolliness, I will state that as a child the meteorological conditions seemed to rarely result in weather that both closed school and was prolonged enough and appropriate for skating and/or sledding. It seemed to be something you were always waiting for that rarely occurred – making it all the better when it did.

Born in February blizzard, I have experienced many snowy birthdays. I will not opine on them right now, but frequently canceled birthday plans created a love-hate relationship with the white stuff. However, I do remember getting a new sled for, I believe, my eleventh birthday, and even without snow on the ground that year it remains a splendid gift that lives in memory.

While this photo was taken twenty-one years before I popped onto the scene, it could very easily been me and my sister Loren, and our cat Snoopy. We owned this very type sled and peaked caps, just like Peggy and Ruth. Snoopy was white with black cow spots, instead of this nice tabby type, and I believe Loren and I at 19 months between us, were closer in age than Peggy and Ruth appear to be. (A nod to Edward who would have shown up on the scene later in the game.) I have trouble imagining a photo of us this angelically posed – I believe most of the snow photos of Loren and I have us fighting, appropriately enough. Still, I purchased it thinking of us.

Unsurprisingly, at the moment the long-range forecast has precipitation predicted for my February 11 birthday. Last year it was a torrential, icy rain – none of the jolliness of snow I am afraid. I am working next weekend, but taking my birthday off to enjoy with Kim and cats here, snow or not, at Deitch Studio.

 

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Some Snow!

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Brrrr! This is the kind of snow you somehow imagine when you are a kid, but never really experience – at least most of us won’t anyway, global warming notwithstanding. I think every kid who has built a snow fort has dreamed of something as grand and massive as this. Bigger even than the igloo I always imagined building, but evidently quite secure since our four formidable ladies perch safely atop.

It is indeed unfortunate that there is no indication of where or exactly when this was taken and I can’t help but wonder. It is a photo postcard and there is nothing on the back. The clothes lead us to realize this was probably no later than the teens, a full century ago, the women above in full length dresses, thick warm black stockings on all. There are coats of the heaviest wools with trims and bits of fur. I am not positive, but this image may be populated entirely by women. There’s one figure, on the bottom, second from the right, which may be a young boy, but I cannot see well enough to declare.

I assume that the tunnel through was perhaps of necessity – a path through this extraordinary snow drift – but maybe it was also for fun. I do wonder how someone even managed to make that tunnel though – and where did the excess snow, no small amount, go? Is it just off camera?

As I write this we are commencing the earliest days of winter after a notably mild fall here in the Northeast. (And I for one am heading for Florida for work as I write this – I will be searching the closet for something to wear in 80 degree weather later this week.) The other morning, up very early, I was surprised to see about 20 minutes of hard, fluffy snow – the first of the season, to my knowledge anyway. It didn’t stick. Our extraordinary and notable weather events have been more of the hurricane nature this fall. However, one never knows with winter and weather. Perhaps this will be the year of a big one and we too will make strange burrows and pathways under fifteen and twenty foot drifts here in Central Park.