Life is a Blizzard Where I Come From

Me in My SnowsuitWhen I was a little girl I thought everybody lived in blizzard country like I did. I thought every child wore a snowsuit for nearly half of the year. This is me in my snowsuit in a few old photographs.

That was life growing up in the North Country. Blizzards and snowsuits. Sleds and ice skates. Double-knit mittens and hats created on Grandma’s needles. The memories of those years are sharp and reside in all of my senses.

I see the snowbank so high in front of our house that there was a photo of me standing on top of it grasping a power line. We’d had a power outage of course. Wires were down somewhere nearby – snapped by heavy ice.

Outages happened often in winter but we were cozy at 439 East Avenue because we had a coal furnace fed by my father from a bin in the basement. I feel the rush of heat when he opened the cast iron door and threw coal into the fiery center.

I hear the chuck of his shovel pushing into the bin and the whoosh of release when he let the load fly into the flames. I smell it too – the not unpleasant char that scratched my throat just a little until the furnace door was closed and latched again.

The most vivid flavor of my blizzard season memories comes from outside the house – the snow I ate despite my mother’s claim I’d contract a terrible disease with a long name I’ve forgotten. I taste the strangely satisfying hint of brackishness as snow crystals melted on my tongue.

Memories urge me to give them life on the page. Tire chains clanging down a quiet street at night. Young ears pressed to morning radios for school closure bulletins after a four-foot overnight snowfall – as a white wonderland waits to be explored and enjoyed.

I offer a glimpse of North Country winter in  A Vacancy at the Inn – Book 4 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. There’s a blizzard near the end but this is a novella and an intense personal situation. Not much page space remains for weather in detail.

Or maybe I held back. Cherishing the magic of my private memory winters in a silence as deep as the silence of a snowscape after a storm. Still I sense a Riverton Road story in my future – and I hope in yours as its reader – where life is a blizzard big time.

Alice Orr –


A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page


10 thoughts on “Life is a Blizzard Where I Come From

  1. I can relate to all of that, I grew up in New Hampshire in the 50s when winters were winters. What takes me back is the smell and hiss of wet wool drying on the old-fashioned iron radiators. A very evocative post.

    1. Hi Kathy Bailey. I remember that smell also. We had register grates in the floors – one in the living room and another in the dining room. On very snowy days they’d be covered with defrosting mittens. I miss that smell and I also miss mittens. They were so much cozier than gloves. Thanks so much for adding this memory to my others of being a winter place kid. Blessings. Alice

    1. Hi Liz Bass. You were in my hometown. Wow. Did you take any photos? I haven’t been back in a long time and it’s even longer since I was there in winter. Memory is a strange thing – especially for writers. So many of us don’t or can’t make stories about our place of origin until after we’ve left. That’s how it is for me anyway. Thanks for being in touch. Blessings. Alice

  2. Your posting was very sweet. Warm memories on cold days always bring a smile. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    1. Hi there Teresa Minambres. These memories are so real to me they feel fresh as yesterday. l carry this place inside me as if it were outside my door right now and inside my imagination at the same time. Thanks for your kind words to add to my fond remembering. Blessings. Alice

    1. Thank you Caroline Clemmons. Don’t you live in Texas or have I misremembered that? I have no idea what winter is like there though I’ve been in various part of the state at the three other seasons. Each lovely in its own way. I love it when writers recreate the place where they grew up. The descriptions are always so evocative. Blessings. Alice

  3. In Wyoming, too, the blizzards came. Wet, soggy mittens; wearing jeans under a skirt or dress because our school required girls to “dress like girls.” But then there was the soothing hot cocoa at home, waiting for me when I got off the school bus–cold, cranky, and frozen. It all goes into our books.

    1. Hi there my dear friend Jennie Brown. I didn’t know you grew up in Wyoming. It’s a place I’d like to visit. Do you have a specific Wyoming destination to suggest? Not in winter of course. I prefer to return to extreme cold and snow in my imagination only. How good to hear from you. It’s been too long. Blessings. Alice

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