When my family lived in Maine, Spring weather arrived several weeks later than the rest of the country. As evidenced by this year’s snow fall on the ‘technical’ first day of Spring, the state of Maine, most northerly of the lower 48, has a long winter. Once in a while, that long winter can be from first snow in October to first thaw in April.
|My home town under snow, a typical Maine winter.|
At that time of year, there was no real danger of any child ending up under the wheels of a passing car on Lincoln Street, but the thrill of shooting through the igloo and onto the icy road kept us outdoors and sledding for weeks. Since I was never keen on snow, this was a boon to my mother who preferred all play to be restricted to the outside, no matter what the weather.
This particular winter, the back parlor had been used earlier for our Christmas celebrations. The wood-burning kitchen stove was used to heat the upstairs bedrooms through ducts into open grills in the floor. Ducts were closed to the back parlor to keep other rooms warmer.
Spring cleaning meant that all the windows in the house could be opened as soon as the patches of grass were at least eight inches wide and more numerous than the piles of snow. Several doors to rooms on the ground floor had not been open since the first signs of winter and others had been closed since Christmas.
My mother began her cleaning and airing out from the attic. The kitchen was the center of family life and had already been cleaned but it was mid-April before she reached the back parlor. Our Christmas tree stood in the corner, all ornaments and lights intact, four months to the day after it had been decorated. Under the tree, instead of presents, was a thick pile of reddish brown needles.
My mother had better things to do with her time than cleaning house.