Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The mitten box

I was going to tell you about how I was wondering why the astronaut chick had a bb gun with her, but then I remembered that a colleague at work shot his own front teeth out when he was a kid in a bb gun mishap. I guess maybe she figured that if she couldn't kill her, she could at least take out a few teeth.

Then I was going to tell you about how when my sister was little she called her throat her "teledirt." None of us have any clue why, or what she might have been mispronouncing, and even my sister to this day has no idea. (I think she was saying "throat hurt" because moms like to say "does your throat hurt" and touch your neck, so maybe she thought it was the name.)

But then I called my dad tonight and he said it's been -17 all week back in Michigan, and I couldn't think of anything except walking to school in the freezing cold, occasionally with my hair wet so it would freeze (hi, 4th grade) but more often in one of those blue snowmobile coats with the hood that was a mile long and trimmed with fur and the lining was orange, and I had a string in my coat to hold my mittens on. And THAT got me thinking about the mitten box.

We always had a mitten box in our mud room, and it's a good thing they were all tied together with idiot strings because there were a lot of mittens. I also had a blue ski pair that had clips on the wrists and I am not sure what they were for but I used them to clip the mittens to each other when I took them off so I wouldn't lose them. When I came in from the back yard, my first stop was that box. I've dreamed about it - in one I was digging through the mitten box in the back of Outback Steakhouse, where I waited tables in college. It was one of those dreams where you have 5 ungreeted tables and they just sat you with a party of 12. And I was digging in my family's mitten box. And the mitten box reminded me of ice skating.

Dad put a skating rink in the back yard every year - maybe I have told you that. He had a gigantic plastic tarp and he carved out the space with a shovel and laid down the tarp and sprayed it with the hose until there was a lot of ice. And when that wasn't working I went down to the high school with my skates and spent hours whirling around on their rink, frozen and with my stupid mitten strings banging against my legs. I was a skating fool - backwards, forwards, spirals, speed-skating, you name it, I was out there perfecting my technique. Then I saw Ice Castles on HBO around 1980, and I didn't skate anymore. What happened to Lexie was just too awful. A few months ago I watched that movie again, laughing at Robby Benson's crazy hair and how her hairdos got better the more successful she got, and then there was that awful jump and the chain and - laugh at me if you will - all my love for skating left me.

I never had a thing for Robby Benson, but a skating career made her lose him. I knew even back then the movie was super cheesy, but it was just so sad.


This is a picture of me and my sister in the back yard. I am guessing because of the moon boots that I was 9 and my sister was going on 4. That would make it 1979. I would guess it was pretty early in the winter based on how smooth the snowman is. We lived in a house that was built from a giant lumber baron's mansion - four houses were built from what they salvaged from it. (My hometown was a lumber boomtown back in the day.) The garage behind us was the carriage house. We had a dog named Butch who lived at the end of the garage and never came in the house. He was a collie, I guess, but mostly brown. One day he just wandered off and never came back. He was deaf, we couldn't find him. I like that we put whiskers on the snowman.

Anyway. I don't remember those mittens at all, but see how we are both wearing snowpants? How cool dippy is that? And those moon boots? My friend Jennifer Jo and I took her paddleboat out on their stinky-arse pond one day and I stuck my foot in. After that the boot stunk, and I had to throw them out. But Napoleon would be proud!

Ice Castles, moon boots and the mitten box - I've destroyed all my street cred with y'all, and you know all you'll ever need to know about me.

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Blogger Lisa said...

Well you brought back some memories for me. I had light blue quilty looking moon boots with navy bottoms and strings. I also wore a sexy snowmobile suit at times. Was it just us Michigan freaks, or did other parts of the country wear that fugly stuff too? It's amazing how much we will sacrifice to stay warm. I also had mittens with an idiot string, made by grandma of course. Did you have those corny slippers with the pom poms too? Yikes, we could have grown up next door, except I think I was more of a country girl than you. We definitely didn't have a carriage house/garage lol.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I too, had a blue, fur edged puffy coat, and we wore snowpants whenever we played in the snow (with our moon boots of course) in northern Indiana. I didn't get mittens with idiot string, but I did have clips - we used them to clip to the cuffs of our coats so we wouldn't misplace them (I guess).
Excellent picture - I'm sure there are several like that of me and my siblings floating around!

10:40 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Yep. Mother wouldn't let me out of the house without a full snowsuit on and boots and scarf and gloves and a hat on my head so I didn't catch cold. Funny you should mention snowsuits. While walking to class today, I was really wishing I had snow pants today. They were warm. Freaky looking, but warm.

11:58 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

I had lavendar moon boots with a matching lavendar puffy coat, lavendar knitted hat with huge froofy pompom on top and matching mittens. Ooh yeah baby. That's what I got to wear AFTER I graduated from the snowsuit that made me look like Randy in A Christmas Story. Street cred? Nah, not lost. Just proving you fit right in with the rest of us. =)

6:22 AM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Ahh the memories! I don't remember the colors, but I too had the moon boots, snowpants (urgh I hated the lycra ones!) ;)

10:37 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

How cool that your dad did the skating rink in the yard! God, I remember Ice Castles. I was never a skater, I always skied, and the only time I really gave skating a try I nearly broke my arse. Love the moon boots!! God, this brought back some memories- what a great post!

11:08 AM  
Blogger Samantha said...

I love that your dad made you an ice rink :)

1:33 PM  
Blogger nb0317 said...

I have been looking all over for long cord mitten clips just as you described. I need them now for winter gloves, of which I have many singles. They do make them for children, but none I cn use. Anyone know where to find them? I've done Google.

9:30 AM  

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