September 3, 2014

Subscriber Login

This and That — My Favorite Winter: 1944–45 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, February 21, 2014 9:14 PM

Have no fear! Spring will arrive next month, at least according to the calendar, and then comes summer. I like winter hibernation better than being a prisoner to air conditioning. Of course, I don’t have to work in it…I just work from home. I like cozy sweatsuits and warm slippers better than summer clothes. Maybe it’s because sweatsuits hide more.


At any rate, I’m glad I didn’t live back in the “old days.” It must have been terribly cold in those log cabins back in the 1840s and 1850s. They had only one fireplace and some had to use blankets for doors before the got the right piece of wood for a door.


When the first group of pioneers came to Delphos in 1842 they had a terrible walk from the Maumee River through the wilderness until they reached Fort Jennings, where those hardy people took them into their homes to stay for the winter. It was spring until they could walk on to Section Ten.

Most of our parents and grandparents had sleds and mud boats which were pulled by a team of horses for their winter transportation.

They had their meat supply hanging in the attic or smoke house and all their vegetables and fruits in the cold old storage rooms. There was also a cupboard in the basement filled with delicious canned goods. Naturally they had enough flour on hand to bake bread. Sometimes the farmers had to dig their way to the barn to milk the cows and feed the chickens and horses. They didn’t have running water in the barn either. In the house they probably had a hand pump at the kitchen sink and it was a cold walk to the “outhouse.” We’ve got it good as long as the electricity stays on.

When it’s not too cold, winter weather provides kids and adults with several recreational activities. My memory takes me back to the winter of 1944-45 when we didn’t have school at Fort Jennings for the whole month of January and it was absolutely wonderful.

It was truly an old-fashioned winter. It just kept snowing and blowing, making it impossible for the one and only Jennings Township snow plow to keep the roads clear.

We lived on our farm in the far southwest corner of Jennings Township, practically on top of Delphos. My dad made a snowplow and mounted it on his Farmall tractor so we were able to come and go as we pleased.

The Jennings Creek traversed our farm and we had nice hills along the creek. Our good friends, the Rode family lived over on State Route 190, near the confluence of the Jennings Creek and the Flat Fork Creek. They also had nice hills along the creek.

I was 13 and my brother, Nub, was 10 and we went sledding everyday. Every other day Nub and I would trek over the fields and through the woods to the Rode home, where we played on their hills. When we went in the house to dry off, we played “Rise Table Rise” with Alice, Lenore and Arnie. To play the game you had to have a wooden table but it really would go up and down, in reply to some of our silly questions. The game wasn’t exactly “blessed” by the Catholic Church but it was fun.

Every other day, the Rode kids would hike the same route to our home. We had really nice hills along the creek so we had a really fun time. We also had littler brothers, who were not old enough to tag along. After sliding down the hills we went to our house to dry off and warm up. While in the house, we played Monopoly. Mom would let us keep the game table up so our tokens and money stayed just the way we left it when it was time for them to go home. We just continued with the same game when it was their turn to come to our place. We also make some of our own rules for Monopoly.

During all these free days for us, and many other schools in Putnam County, my Delphos friends had to go to school because the buses would run on the main roads, so the kids had to find their own means of transportation to the bus stop. Back in those days we didn’t have to make any of those “calamity” days up. The guys in Columbus didn’t know or care what was happening up north.

The winter of 1944–45 was my favorite winter of all time.

Last Updated on Friday, February 21, 2014 9:15 PM

Add comment

Security code