Book of Me, Prompt 15: The Snow

[This is prompt 15 of the series, Book of Me, Written by You..and yes, I am way behind]

I’ve lived in the same community all my life.  It’s in the San Francisco Bay Area where too cold in the Winter is 30 (at night) and too hot in the Summer is 90.  We aren’t called weather wimps for nothing.   We do get frost, but for it to snow here, hell would have to freeze over.

So, the first time I saw real snow was when I was 6 or 7 years old.  We took a trip “to the snow”.  In all honesty, I don’t even know where we went.  We just went “to the snow”.  LOL  It was probably somewhere in the Sierras.  We went with another family who we were good friends with.

This photo was taken from that trip.  That’s me and my Dad with my brother and the son from the other family in the background.

george melody at the snow ca 1973

What I remember is it was fun, but very cold, and that we were ill prepared for it.  I remember we put plastic bags around our feet inside our shoes and our feet still got drenched.  Heck, we didn’t even own the right jackets for snow.

We had snow ball fights, slid around on inner tubes, and made snow men.  The day came to an end and then we went home. I remember being more than ready for the warmth inside the car.

It did snow in my hometown once in the 50 years I have lived here.  It was 1974-1975.  We woke up to snow.  It was the biggest thrill for us kids.  We played in it as we waited for the bus to come.  We played in it at school before the bell rang.  Sadly, the school was not as impressed with the sight.  They made us go to class and when we returned at 10am recess, the snow had melted.  Thanks Principal Rice.

The only other times I’ve experienced snow was camping in the mountains.  Every year after that we went camping at the end of August.  Usually we went up to the Mt. Lassen area.  And, every year it snowed on us at least one day.  My strangest experience at Lassen was the year we hiked to Bumpass Hell. At the top, are the sulfur pots, hot and bubbling. But, half way up the mountain there was snow, which we gladly started a snow ball fight. It seemed incongruent. Because of these camping trips, snow wasn’t entirely foreign to me.

This is me in 1994 when I went up to Yosemite Valley for a couple days at the beginning of Spring.  It was beautiful with it’s blanket of snow–but cold.  I can remember getting out of the car and the icy vapor emanating from the ground.


Because we went to Yosemite in the off season, there were more chances to see wildlife.  I got this photo of a coyote foraging in the valley.


And this view of Half Dome…notice the little dusting of snow on the ledges.


I think I would be thrilled if it snowed here again.  But, for me, snow is too cold (notice how I keep saying that?  LOL)  It’s neat to visit for short periods but I’ll take my SF Bay Area Winter any day.


SNGF: Questions about me

This week Randy is asking us to answer six questions he heard in in a keynote address given by Judy Russell at RootsTech.  I’m going to try to answer as best I can.

a)  What was your first illness as a child? I’m not sure what was first, but the first one I remember was chicken pox.  I was about 4 years old.  My brother got chicken pox and he kindly gave them to me.  I don’t remember them being particularly annoying or, at least, not as annoying as my siblings said they would be.  I remember I got to stay in my pajamas all day.  After I finished, my brother then got shingles on his back (the same brother who had chicken pox).  My poor Mom must have been at her wit’s end at that point.

b)  What was the first funeral you attended? This was more difficult for me to remember.  I did not go to my Grandpa Lassalle’s funeral .  I know that.  He was the first person I remember dying.  I was 8 at the time. I stayed home with a baby sitter.  I distinctly remember watching Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan on TV and eating dinner on the TV trays. Honestly, I can’t remember any as a child, though I’m sure we must have gone to one or two.  The first one I remember is when my Uncle Matt died.  I was 18 at the time.

c)  What was your favorite book as a child? This is an easy one.  Without a doubt, The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  I read the whole series and then reread it.  I loved the adventures and it was so imaginative.  (Mrs.  Piggle Wiggle, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Amelia Bedelia would have been close runner ups.)

d)  What was your favorite class in elementary school?

We didn’t have separate classes in elementary school, so I’ll answer with my favorite grade.  It was 5th grade.  I had Miss Bos as my teacher.  I had her in 2nd grade and she was my favorite.    Miss Bos was one of those teachers who didn’t have to be dominating to be effective.  She was great at bringing out the best in me. 5th grade was a great time for me.

School was relatively easy.  I was able to finish my work early most days, so I earned privileges like working as a reading tutor, helping set up for assemblies, doing different errands for the teacher, and leaving early for recess.  We got to go on more field trips in 5th grade.  I remember going to plays, factories, and wildlife refuges.

It was also a great time for me socially.  An older kid, a 6th grader (note that: older…LOL), took me under her wing.  She liked me because I was small (I was only 4 ft 8 in 5th grade and had the face of an 8 year old).  It was because of her I was picked for the girls sport team (we only had one that played other schools in whatever sport), was selected at the top whenever the class picked teams, and never got picked on.  There were certain perks to be known on school grounds as “Shorty”.

e)  What was your favorite toy as a child? I thought of several things but I think that crayons and coloring books were probably my favorite toy.  I could sit for hours coloring.  I took them everywhere even the ball field where we watch my brother play Little League.  I couldn’t draw and I think coloring made me feel artistic.  I still color from time to time

. f)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn? This is one of those memories I’d rather forget.  Well, not really.  My best friend, Renee and I, learned how to swim at the local swim center which was at the high school.  I think we were 8 years old.  I remember this very well because we advanced from the first group to the second to the third.  Then, it was time to advance to the middle pool.  And, I failed miserably.  My downfall?  Floating on my back.  I could not master it.  And, so I couldn’t advance.  By the end of the Summer, I still hadn’t mastered it.  The teacher bumped me up to the middle pool for the last session.  But, since I couldn’t back float, I never progressed and that ended swimming lessons for me. I think I did pretty well with the questions.  That certainly brought back a lot of memories!


Book of You, Prompt 18: Remembering Coloring Rolls

This week’s Book of You Written By Me Prompt asks us if we remember the first gift that we received, if we still have it, if there were other special gifts we remember.  Try as I might, I cannot recall the first gift.  I was probably a baby at the time which might be the reason ;)

But, this prompt brought back a fond memory of an early Christmas present from my Grandma Shellabarger.  When I was about 4, my Grandma moved from Oakland, CA to Chula Vista to work.  She sent up a package of presents that first Christmas.  I remember to this day what I received.

They still make them, though I don’t think they’re as a big a deal today as they were when I was 4 in 1968.  It was a huge roll of paper.  The paper was probably an inch or more thick.  The whole roll was filled with images to color.  I loved coloring, so it was the perfect gift!  I could color for months on that roll.

I remember receiving them a couple of years in a row.  One had animals, another was the story of Noah’s Ark.  I would start my roll on the kitchen table, box of 64 crayons spread all over the place, and work for hours.  It was awesome!

I wonder if anyone else remembers getting these.  I did a Google search but had no luck finding reference to them.   This coloring roll was about the closest I could find.  However, the ones I got didn’t come in a fancy box.

It was probably one of the cheapest presents I ever received–and one I enjoyed so much!  One of those coloring rolls sustained me long past Winter Break.