Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Remembering the Big Chills

Just for fun!

I just got back from church and lunch out, and now I am glad to be back home. My, it's cold out there! But when I think of past cold snaps I've experienced, today's weather pales in comparison.

Even though the heat is running often, I still feel cold in the house. This chill, however, is nothing compared to our first years of marriage. Prior to moving here, my husband and I owned a very tiny Polish Flat in the Riverwest area. It had no central heat! A space heater in the living room supplied all the heat we had. We were young and adventuresome (and poorer) then and decided not to heat the upstairs. (Remember, this was just after the Carter years--we were used to cutting back.) That meant we kept the stairway door to the bedroom closed. During a particularly cold -26F day in January 1982 our attic bedroom temperature dipped below the freezing point to 28 degrees! An electric blanket on a timer kept us from freezing once in bed. I think after that we lived it up and kept the door open at night.

We viewed our situation as more of a challenge than a hardship. Plus, believe it or not, we had it better than my parents did when they first got married. Being one of the many post WWII newlyweds needing a place to live, my parents lived in an unfinished, uninsulated upper flat. It did not even have electricity or running water! (My dad's parents lived next door and so they had access to the necessary room.) Their only heat was a kerosene space heater that doubled as a cooking stove. My mom said they put an extra long blanket on the bed, pulling it up and over the headboard at night to trap their body heat in their blanket tent. It was so cold in their house that the bucket of water they had for drinking etc. froze solid one night, and it was next to the space heater!!! But they lived to tell the tale. (No wonder mom did not bat an eye later on at the idea of a camping vacation--she was already experienced.)

The Packer playoff game today at Lambeau Field reminds us of that infamous 1967 Ice Bowl game 41 years ago. Today the temps will be higher than the Ice Bowl's brutal -18F. My high school girlfriend's dad attended the Ice Bowl. I think they relied on lots of "anti-freeze" to keep warm.

School starts tomorrow for WCTC. There was some complaining from a member of our household about walking to class from the parking lot to class in the cold. (You have to remember that this is his first winter school experience.) I got to relay one of those In my day stories to put it in perspective, but mine happens to be true.

When I was a sophomore at Stout State University up in Menomonie, Wisconsin, I had to walk about 1 1/2 miles from the dorm to class. One really cold morning at 7:15am, as I was walking to Physiology and Anatomy (not a class you would skip) I glanced up at the bank clock. The temperature stated -32! Thirty-two degrees below zero! Not the wind chill, the actual temperature. Oh, that was cold. At least the fashion trend in 1970 was the Maxi coat, a coat that went down to the ankles. It did help. The local Menomins seemed to be quite used to these types of temperatures. Much like the locals in Arizona who dismiss their 108 degree days, my schoolmates dismissed the sub-zero temps by saying Oh, but it's a DRY cold!

Well, its time to go on to something more productive. Enjoy the Packer game and stay warm! 

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