Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown–Ten Things We Did on Cold Winter Days

My father-in-law after the Great Thanksgiving Snowstorm of 1950.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the cancellation of school because temperatures were getting down to zero. Cancel school? Never would have happened when we were growing up in Youngstown. Instead, these were the kinds of things we did as kids:

  1. We walked to school. Yes we bundled up in snowsuits, boots (stowed in old Schwebel’s wrappers), hats, scarves, and mittens that took 15 minutes to take off. But cold temperatures didn’t stop us.
  2. We came home and built snow forts and had epic snowball fights.
  3. We broke icicles off the roof and dueled. Better than laser sabres!
  4. With all that gear, we went sledding–Suicide Hill or Calvary Run in Mill Creek, Rocky Ridge, Crandall Park, and any other place with a good hill.
  5. The park lakes froze and we went skating, gathered around the fire, and drank hot chocolate.
  6. We went around to neighbors with a snow shovel in hand and offered to clear drives and walks.
  7. We played football in the snow. If the Browns and the Steelers could do it, so could we. Passing didn’t work very well, so it was mostly a ground game.
  8. On weekends, we’d go to the movies, for us at the Schenley Theater, and then stop at Petrillo’s Pizza for a slice or two.
  9. Then we’d go to a friends house for a marathon game of Monopoly.
  10. Then it was home for dinner–maybe some more hot chocolate. Warm and filled we would fall asleep in front of the TV.

The thing was, we kept moving, and didn’t notice the cold, or at least not too much. If you grew up in Youngstown, you wouldn’t let a little cold stop you. We had so much fun, and much of it was outdoors. That’s what it was to be Youngstown tough! Keep moving and stay warm, friends! And leave a comment about what you did during those cold winter days.

To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown–Ten Things We Did on Cold Winter Days

  1. Our sledding adventures were at Horseshoe Bend or Killer Hill on the Eastside. Daddy bought us a “Western Flyer” and my Sis and I would try to sled all the way to the creek at the bottom of the hill. Lincoln Park (in the old swimming pool) was where we skated. The very same places my parents sledded and skated when they were growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We went sledding on the North side down INDIANA AND RIGHT OUT ONTO WICK AVE. Didn’t even know it was cold until we got home from family supper!

    Like

  3. We lived in upstate NY til my boys were 8 + 10 and they still talk about bread bags on their feet. One lost his boot and kept on playing with just the bag. What I remember most about the winter, besides all the outside things was getting dressed with one foot on the floor register and one on the linoleum to balance the warmth!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are right on! Nothing kept us indoors. A couple of personal observations: The snow on the roads were rust colored. Road crews used ash from the steel mills to treat the roads. The snow on your porch turned black from mill emissions. ( turned yellow if you had a dog or crazy friend). A good memory was coming indoors, half frozen, and gathering on the floor registers that were common in homes heated by coal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another thing for SURE, Daddy went to WORK. He worked at United Engineering in Youngstown and would drive from Lake Milton. Like the writer of this post said, We kept going. For God & Country

    Liked by 1 person

  6. No snow days but when you lived on the Eastside
    And walked uphill to Easthigh School freezing you put pants on under your skirt (no pants for girls were allowed) 😂 but when you got to the top of Easthigh hill you sat on your books and slid down

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.