The Snow Suit
by Jay Fadden
This is a blog to anyone who ever wore a snow suit!
When I was young, I was always super excited when the forecast called for a snow storm. As the first flakes began to fall, I would wander into my backyard, lay flat on my back on the ground, and have the snow fall on top of me, hoping it would cover me totally. Of course, this never lasted long, as I would get cold and go back inside for the warmth.
When the storm was finally over and a fresh blanket of snow covered the ground and trees, it was time to start my adventures. I was revved up and ready to go when I would hear a familiar voice, my mother. “Make sure you put on your long johns and snow suit,” she would say. Oh no! Not the snow suit! Some of you might remember the snow suit, or, as I referred to it, the torture suit. It was a one piece, a stiff piece of stuffed supposedly waterproof fabric (it always got wet) with a hood. It was terrible! I had worn it so much that I had devised a system of how to put it on. First, the socks would go on, and not just any socks, but the thick wool socks that were so hot that you needed a timer to get outside before your feet melted. After the 100-degree wool socks got on, the long johns would quickly follow. They had to be after the socks so that the long johns went over your socks and no snow that went into your boots could get inside your socks. I would then have to lie on the ground to put on that dreaded snow suit.
I would get the suit halfway on when I realized I needed to use the bathroom. OHHHHHH boy! Off would come the snow suit, and I knew I would have to start the process all over again. Well, I would finally get back on the ground and start wiggling on that darn snow suit. You have to understand that you could not just slip into it. No, that would be too easy. The snow suit was very tight, so you had to keep moving on the ground like a worm until you could pull it up. Once you got the bottom half on, you could try to stand up to get the rest of it on, which was no easy task. You’d have to roll over on your stomach and crawl over to the closest piece of furniture to prop yourself up. When you did get to a standing position, you could attempt to get your arms in and zip it up. Again, not an easy task.
Once you had your arms in and it was zipped up, you had another problem. The suit was so tight you could not put your arms down. I would stand in the middle of the room looking like an overstuffed starfish. But you still had to put on your boots and mittens (there were no gloves, and the mittens were probably knitted by your grandmother or aunt). It was impossible to bend over, so how were you going to put on the boots? I would line the boots up on the floor and try to jump into them. That’s right; I would try to jump into the boots. Picture an 8-year-old boy, looking like a starfish, barley able to move, trying to jump into his boots. I would waddle back about 5 steps and then start hopping like a bunny until I hopped onto the boots. It NEVER, EVER, worked! I would always fall to the ground and resemble a turtle on its back. I would flounder around, my legs kicking in the air, trying to get back up. It was a sad sight, but probably funny as well. When I did get back up, I would sit in a chair. Well, I actually couldn’t really sit; I looked like a board resting on the chair because I could not bend. At this point, my feet were boiling from the 100-degree wool socks. I would call my mother, who would help put on my boots, mittens, and hat (also knitted by your grandmother or aunt). Now I looked like the Stay Puff marshmallow man. I had thirty ponds of clothes on a forty-pound frame.
I would open the door and venture outside. I moved like one of those green plastic army men so many of us played with. I could not bend my legs, so I would just try to let the momentum push them forward. By this point, I was so tired from putting on the horrible snow suit and trying to move in it that I knew I might not last long. Outside in the winter wonderland, I would usually meet up with my best friend, Rick, who also had a snow suit on, and we would begin to play. We would try to make snow angles, but they looked more like stick people because of our lack of movement. Our snowballs would travel about 2 feet because we couldn’t move our arms, and our snowman was just sad. It looked like you stacked 2 boxes on top of each other, topped off with Frankenstein’s head.
After about a half an hour, those knitted mittens were usually wet and cold. They also became heavy and would fall off every so often. My hands would be red and raw. Snow had gotten into my boots and my wool socks were soaked. Of course, I couldn’t take the boots off because I couldn’t bend down to reach them. Here is the thing, though: I loved every minute of it. I had a blast in the snow even in the snow suit with the wet mittens and socks. To this day, I remember those moment with great fondness. When I finally came in from the snow, I would always need help from my mom to take off the boots and snow suit. It would take about twenty minutes. Snow would fly around the room as she pulled off my boots, which were packed with snow, but what a relief it was to take off the snow suit. We would take all of the wet clothes and hang them in the boiler room, the warmest room in the house, to dry. Then I was always greeted with a smile from mom and a warm cup of hot chocolate with floating marshmallows on top. As I sat there with a smile on my face, cold feet, and raw hands, I would gaze out the window looking forward to the next day when I could play in the snow again!