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!

16 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!


  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!!

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  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.

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  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

  7. Pingback: Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Your Favorites of 2022 | Bob on Books

  8. Sounds like you grew up in my neighborhood. I grew up on Millett and and spent many times on Borts hill making caves. Or Rocky Ridge sled riding and ice skating first at Borts tennis court then Glacier Lake. Those were the good old times. And don’t get me started sbout the summer months.

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  9. Ice skating at Crandall Park. My Dad owned Buttitta Market on Federal St in the 1950’s.
    The night before the snow storm, he delivered groceries to several families & brought some home for us. We shared with neighbors.

    Liked by 1 person

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