Days Gone By - stories from the past

She tried kicking the ice to let the fish have air….see what happened next

Remember Those Cold Winters?


Dorothy Graham Gast

I agree that winters are not as cold as they were in the 40s and 50s.

Do you remember ice spewed up out of the ground that crunched when you stepped on it? Or seeing the pompadours boys had combed with water become frosted before the bus arrived.

Do you remember icicles hanging from the roofs of unheated buildings and puddles frozen so hard you could walk on them?icicles1

Walked a half-mile

When I was about twelve my brother and I walked a half-mile to a neighbor’s house to buy some milk, since our cow was dry.

The neighbor had a fishpond in her front yard with large goldfish showing through a sheet of ice. I tried kicking the ice to let the fish have air, lost my balance and fell into 18 inches of icy water.frozen pond

Offered a towel and place in front of the fire

The neighbor was sympathetic enough to offer a towel and a place in front of the fire, but nobody offered to drive us the half-mile home. By the time we were home, my outer garments were stiff with ice and I was grateful for the steamy kitchen.

Our wood burning kitchen stove had a water tank with pipes going to the bathroom. That night a cloud of steam formed over the tub in the unheated bathroom and I soaked to my heart’s content.

I never again let concern for fish entice me to break in ice in Mrs. Patterson’s fishpond.


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About Dorothy Graham Gast

Dorothy Gast lives in Romulus, Alabama on the Graham family farm. She taught in Tuscaloosa County Schools for nearly 30 years. She has a "Mine, yours, and Ours" family. She has volunteered in numerous organizations after her husband's eight year struggle with Alzheimers' ended. She helped organize a volunteer fire department after she was 60 and served as board secretary and nationally certified firefighter after extensive training. Her attempts to get the community reading failed, but she contributed books to the new Sipsey Valley high school from the library in her home friends helped her establish. She is known locally by the silhouettes she cuts free hand of children. She began to write nostalgia stories after a grandson asked her to write down the stories often told at family events.

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  1. I remember on winter, 56-57 or 57-58 when the temps stayed near zero for over a week in Blount County. Had to carry water from spring to chicken houses in large buckets. Now all these years later, my arms and shoulders still ache just thinking about it.

  2. I remember my daddy pulling corn in November in Arab with the ground all spewed up & his hands just froxen bleeding paws from the cold!! Never forget that & how hard he worked.

  3. 1985 we had a very bad ice storm in North Alabama. I lived in New Market, still do actually. I was 6 at the time. We had a hill on the right of our yard and my sister, brother and I would take whatever we had and slide down the hill. It was fun. 🙂 Then in 1993 we had what we call a ‘blizzard” haha. I was babysitting for a couple of boys and I was stuck there for a few days longer than expected. We had fun though. The boys and I would go play in the snow and throw snowballs at each other and built a snowman. Mind you, this blizzard took place in March. Back then I thought I was big and bad and I was out in it with shorts and flip flops… not now…. I freeze if the temp is below 65…. haha Good times growing up!

  4. Back in the mid 60’s , I don’t remember exactly what year , the temperature reached -27 in New Market a state record! I was a small child and we lived in an old house that had a low hanging porch, it had icecicles that reached the ground all the way around it. They were about 5 ft. long. Oh yeah the Tennessee River froze over and somebody drove a car over it!

  5. The winter of 1963 in Gadsden was the coldest winter I remember. Also, there was a severe ice storm and the power went off. However, my father remembered a time in the 1930s when the Coosa River in Gadsden froze over. It must have been really cold at that time.

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