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:
- 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.
- We came home and built snow forts and had epic snowball fights.
- We broke icicles off the roof and dueled. Better than laser sabres!
- 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.
- The park lakes froze and we went skating, gathered around the fire, and drank hot chocolate.
- We went around to neighbors with a snow shovel in hand and offered to clear drives and walks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Then we’d go to a friends house for a marathon game of Monopoly.
- 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!