Jan 15, 2010 - albanyia    3 Comments

Memories of Winters in Upstate New York

Winter FunWinter Fun

Memories of Winter in New York

Recently it snowed in Texas. This actually made the national news.

A ton of pictures and messages went up on every social network about how amazing it was. People were outside walking around instead of working, children were let outside of their schools. I saw tons of photo albums of little kids running around playing in the snow, people making snowmen, taking pictures happily standing in front of them, then taking pictures of their houses, their trees, their cars covered with snow. And the amazing thing is: I think it was three inches at most! :D Lol. We get that in ONE HOUR people!! And it snows all night here!

It’s like they never saw snow before or something :P

Ahhh, the beautiful thing is that it brought back to me how joyous snow could be. I have so many good memories of winter when we were growing up. I was thinking about this recently too as my young nephew and neice will be moving to (ironically) Texas and will probably never experience a real New England winter.

The first snow of the season usually falls before Thanksgiving here. The trees are all bare and when the whole town seems to be the blahest ugliest, all of a sudden one day we’ll be looking out the window in our high school and it will be snowing. Oh, the excitement!

All those kids in these pictures were dressed up in thick sweaters with hoods, poor things. They probably don’t even own jackets! Let alone what we call a “snow jacket and snow pants”. I remember when I was eight I used to have a pair of hot pink snow pants that I loved! Our usual outfits were thick jeans, a turtle-neck shirt with a sweater or thick sweatshirt, big fluffy socks (sometimes two), big boots, hat, gloves or mittens, ear-muffs, wool scarf, snow jacket and if we were little — snow pants! Then we’d go outside and maybe shovel the snow. We’d build forts on both sides of our house and we’d make up teams between my brothers, sister and I. We’d pelt each other with our arsenal of snowballs and sometimes passerbys too. (haha don’t tell our parents) We used to make snow angels in our backyard. We’d go sledding for hours and hours at the local park, or high school or local golf country club. We’d clean off the cars for money from our parents or my brothers would go clean off some neighbor’s sidewalks and we’d walk to the local store and buy the most unhealthiest foods we could find!

At our local Mosque they’d bulldoze the parking lot and there’d be this one long line of a huge mountain of snow and we’d all climb it and walk across throwing snowballs like it was some kind of trail across the Himalayas. Oh and snowdays were the best! We’d go to bed and pray and pray that it would snow all night. Then we’d wake up so early and turn on the radio or the TV and keep listening and if our school was called we’d start screaming and jumping up and down and be so ecstatic that we had a WHOLE DAY to do nothing except what we wanted. Sometimes we’d go to our friend’s house trudging through the snow, or we’d stay inside after our excursions and watch a ton of TV or play video games. The best feeling in the world was coming in after being all frozen, shaking off all our winter wear and placing it on the heaters. Then going in the kitchen and drinking some delicious soup or hot chocolate our Mom had made for us. Until today, for some reason I love to make brownies when it’s snowing! We loved going outside after midnight when we were teenagers. The streets sparkled with the glitter of thousands of diamonds and we would feel like we were living in the 1800s with all the cars and modern life covered up. We’d walk down the street and feel timeless… such are the happy memories of winter here.


A City Fairyland 1886 by Hassam Childe

There is of course the downside of snow. Getting a cold or the flu, actually having to walk to school or wait at the bus stop even when it’s freezing and snowing, making up work for the day you missed. And of course as you get older, snow is more an annoyance, having to wake up early to see if you have to come in to work. Cleaning off the car at 7am in sub-below 0 temperatures after snow and freezing rain is the absolute worst. Have you ever felt so cold with the wind and snow that you had to cover your face or else you’d die and like your eyeballs start watering because they are so freezing, Texas? Yeah I thought not :)

It’s enough to make people leave and it’s true that so many people haven’t been able to bear it. It’s just hard to go out and clean off your car and move it every day during snow emergencies. How about shoveling an entire driveway! Have you ever gotten stuck in snow or not been able to get your car out. Yeah it’s happened so many times. Having to clean your sidewalk after two feet of snow. Dealing with bone-chilling cold and wet frozen feet and hands and ears. Can you imagine the fear that stops your heart and jumps into your throat when your car slides on an icy road and you can’t do anything. I remember one winter while driving to Jumah, my car spun a clear 270 degrees on an icy part of a highway on-ramp. I still thank Allah that there weren’t any cars coming or going at the time. Winters can be harsh and depressing times too, with no one going out, events being cancelled, nothing going on.

Despite all this, I still love my memories of winter. I look out the window at 1am and love seeing the snow falling under the street light. And I love when, after that last storm ends and all the snow melts, we wait for that first flower of spring with the excitement and satisfaction of putting a rough winter behind us :)

And I have miles to go...
And I have miles to go…


  • I remember Ichabod Crane would ALWAYS be canceled lol and we we’d be so annoyed if we turned on the TV only to see that it was already on the ‘B’s, and we’d have to wait like 15 minutes for it to get around to A again for our school district! And ‘sliding’ down the empty icy streets late at night…Such wonderful memories alhamdulillah.

  • That was one of the those fuzzy, warm pieces of writing, reflecting on the past, it’s always nice! :-) I only lived in NY the first two of my life, so not many memories, but I do have this one picture in a photo album showing the snow just piled up very very high; of course, I have stories from my parents and uncle of how it used to be there.
    As for more recent winters, they are not too bad Oregon, though they have been getting worse the last few years and we Oregonians don’t know how to drive in the snow/ice!
    Yet, as you and others know Jannah, I am in Prague and boy oh boy, have I experienced something new here! My first year here (2005), we had snow from November to at least March if I recall correctly – and oh yeah – it was -20 C! That’s -4 F! Brrrrrr. Even this year, we have suddenly had very heavy snowfall and its been annoying, as I’ve had to trudge through snow on my way to class (medical school!) and though its getting a bit warmer, it was around -10 C for a bit (sorry I’ve gotten used to Celsius, but don’t worry, I still judge how cold it is by the Fahrenheit reading on my computer!) and I was wearing the long underwear and all bundled up. Though, back in that first year period, at one point, you could see only my eyes and one of my Irish classmates, teased, saying “Where are you from?!!” I wasn’t used to it and as you said Jannah, its horrible if you get sick, especially if exams are looming, which they usually are in December.
    Though I live at a relatively low level in Oregon, our previous house, in which I spent my formative years, was around 700 ft above sea-level and we had a steep driveway, so many times, we were not able to get the car up into the garage – of course, finding out that school we canceled or at least delayed for 2 hours was always a joy. :-D Since I went to the same school as my closest fellow young family members, we would spend time together in the snow, playing Nintendo (Mario Brothers!) and just enjoying food and being home with all that free time . . . ahhh those were the good old days.
    Anyways, thanks so much for sharing Jannah! Always nice to revisit these old memories and hear of others’ equally special and fun moments.

  • Enjoyed this, a lot. Both for the positive and negative winter memories about upstate NY. Winter was certainly a factor in me moving out West. Of course, here in Saudi, winter is represented by a few rainstorms… bit of a difference!