A year or two after my mom and dad divorced, Mom remarried a man who had his 5 kids. Mom had us four. We were all light and blonde. Joe was a pure bred Boston raised Italian and his first wife was Filipino. All of his children were dark skinned and so we became a diversified Brady Bunch. I became the oldest of nine children at the young age of 12, getting ready to turn 13.
We lived in an old two story, three bedroom house. When Joe’s family moved in, we converted the front room into a downstairs bedroom for the parents. Upstairs then belonged to the kids. We four boys took one bedroom with a set of bunk beds and a set of trundle beds. Three of the girls took the middle bedroom and two were then left for the small bedroom which had been mine previously.
I’ve shared in several stories that we lived on a city block that had more than 30 kids at ages around my own. Finding solitude or a place where a kid could feel remote from others happened for me only during the winter. The perfect moment was rare but they were so special to me that I remember them clearly and I share them here with you now.
The average snowfall in Hamilton, Ohio each year is only about 22 inches. So finding a day of 6-7 inches, although not rare, is not frequent. When days like this happened and school was not in session, there would be a short few hours where not many vehicles were on the road and not many people outside.
I would watch for these days. When one would happen, I would quietly slip out the back door and walk down to the school, Lincoln Elementary. Lincoln was only 4 blocks from the house. I would bundle up very well because I knew I would be out in the cold for a couple of hours. I’d walk the four blocks in the snow, all alone, enjoying the quiet.
When I arrived at the school, I’d walk around to the back. There was an area back there that was blocked off on three sides by the brick walls of the building. I would tuck myself into a crevice, take a seat and just listen to the quiet. It was so peaceful and quiet that sometimes I could hear the snowflakes meeting the snow cover on the ground.
It was quiet. It was pure and beautiful, made by the snow. It was all mine.