Winter wear stands ready in northern Wisconsin despite the approach of May

Susan Manzke
Stella sits by the ever present snow shovel.

I'm looking out the window today and watching snowflakes and graupel pellets fall from the sky. It is very windy and cold outside. When I take my dog, Stella, for a walk around the buildings I wear a winter coat. Earmuffs and gloves are in my pocket. I may put them to use if the winter-like weather stays.

A couple of my friends said that they washed their winter clothing and stored everything away until needed at year’s end. I told them that they were tempting fate by doing that when the temperature was in the 80s. They were the ones who brought on this bout of cold that we are suffering through.

Our weather would be better if everyone had left their winter garments hanging in easy reach for another month. Of course, this is an old folk tale, but I’m not taking any chances. As I said, even though it's nearly May I continue to use a winter coat when a wicked wind blows across the fields.

My snow shovel has not been put away. It leans against the fence right by my back door just in case I need it again. For a time, I said I wouldn't put it away until May but now it looks like I won't put it away until June ‒ I'm not taking any chances.

When the snow started to fall it brought back memories of children needing snow suits at the end of winter.

Many years ago, snowsuits were handed down between my four children. That was if there was anything left of them after rough outside play.

I think Russell wore out more snow suits than anyone else when he was a kid. I remember trying to find something to keep him warm while he jumped on a sled and powered down the hill to the barn.

The first to go were the snowsuit knees. Next went the seat.

Too often the snow came up through the holes in the snowsuit. When Russell was done playing he'd come in bringing that snow with him.

Of course, I tried finding something for him in the stores, but all that was for sale were spring clothes. Friends with children his age were of no help. Their own children had shredded their snowsuits that winter too.

I patched and sewed what was left of his snowsuit as best I could so he could enjoy winter. But in the end, there wasn't much I could do with the material anymore. At that point, I just hoped for warmer weather and less snow.

If this happened today, I would have another place to turn to, and that would be the Internet.

I just checked eBay to see how many snowsuits were still for sale. For boys’ clothing size 4 and up there were 370 items for sale. When I narrowed it down to sizes 10 to 12, there were only nine left for sale. So even today, boys continue to be rough on their snowsuits.

Bob showing his duct tape handywork in the spring of 2008.

Of course, the kids were not the only ones who put holes in their winter jackets. I have a picture of Bob after he patched his favorite jacket with duct tape. He figured there was a lot of use left in that jacket and he was going to squeeze out every bit from it that he could.

When summer arrived, if I found a snowsuit at a rummage sale, I would purchase it and bring it home. I wasn't taking any chances of not being able to make it through another winter without proper clothing for our children.

The falling snow has now stopped. The sun is melting what had fallen. It's time to take Stella out for another walk. I will dress warmly for the cold weather and not tempt fate by putting away all my winter paraphernalia for another few weeks.

Wishing you a May filled with sunshine and flowers.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;;