Friday, October 19, 2007

Nightmare Weather and Skating Parties

The farmhouse disappeared, appeared and then disappeared from sight. The storm swirled and eddied around them, the world grayed as dirt pealed from the fields and streaked everything. "From the Dust"

1930 - 1940. The dirty thirties. Years of nightmare weather; harsh winters, blistering summers, unending winds.

1936 was one of the hottest summers on record across North America and one of the coldest winters. The American side of Niagra falls has only been known to freeze over six times because of a combination of its lower water level and a harsh winter. Two of those times were 1936 and 1938.

But even harsh weather didn't stop the fun. In a phone conversation, where I would have sworn I was speaking to a much younger woman, an enthusiastic senior remembered spending many evenings skating on an outdoor rink. There was a skating shack with a heater to warm up between sets and gas lanterns strung along the ice. It was rather more a dance than a skating party as the boys would take turns skating with the girls. They would skate in pairs all evening.

You would dance with all different fellas all night. It was like going to a dance.”

Seems like there was a lot of fun happening in those tough years. When the ice finally melted and skating ended the town children migrated to tennis. And on Sundays they switched to baseball.

Summer temperatures may have reached record highs and the winds become relentless, but when things got really unbearable there was always a dip in a nearby slough, lake or dugout.

Safe travels



Wendy Gail said...

I'm struck by the differences, and even more so by the similarities, between life in the 30's, and life as we know it today.

Teenagers still hide beer bottles from their parents; music is still social glue; and times of great dispair, personal sacrifice, and trial are still our most vivid and memorable historical place markers.

Great stuff Ryshia!

Anonymous said...

This is amazing research, and I love the photos. Given all this, I think "From the Dust" was destined to be...