Wednesday, February 18, 2015
This is the time of year when despairing over the cold is common for me. Last month we ran out of oil to heat part of this large 1800's house. I had an emergency delivery arrive the following morning. It happened again the other night. I was woken up in the middle of the night because there was no heat. It was below zero outside and the temperature was rapidly dropping in the house. I called the oil company first thing in the morning.
That day, the grandbabies and I spent the day in the parlour near the wood pellet stove. We couldn't play in their rooms because it was too cold. The babies were entertained with toys, crayons, snacks and some children's movies. Every now and then, one of us went downstairs to the nursery to get a few more toys. We had to wear a coat, it was so cold in there!
By midafternoon, our oil arrived and the heat was turned back on. It took a few hours for the temperature to rise. The despair of being cold turned to joy. It is amazing how the simple comfort of warmth can delight the heart! By the children's bedtime, all was back to normal.
After this ordeal was over I thought about the Pilgrims. They had settled on the coast in a Massachusetts town. Today, a living museum shows visitors the reality of the harshness of their living conditions. Ocean air is bitterly painful and cold in the winter. I cannot imagine how they kept their spirits up to get through the cold!
In my father's boyhood days, everyone used a wood stove for heat. The fire would be allowed to go out when it was bedtime. The children often shared a bed and were covered with homemade quilts. Mothers would also have hot water bottles or warm baked potatoes wrapped up by their feet for the children to give them extra warmth. In the morning, someone would brave the icy cold and start the fire so breakfast could be made and the family would get dressed for the day.
In old remembrance books children wrote of waking up on cold winter nights to find snow had come through the roof and landed on their quilts. They would also get dressed by the kitchen stove because that is the only place in the house where there was warmth. These same children would attend a one room schoolhouse which was heated by a wood stove. The desks would be moved to keep the children as close to that source of heat as possible.
These stories make me realize how very pampered I am. But being warm is one of the greatest needs during a New England winter. Many people spend the year saving for a family vacation, or a shopping spree. We spend our year saving up every dime we can to buy our heat for the winter. I won't even let myself think of what it would be like to visit Hershey, Pennsylvania, Dollywood in Tennessee, or even Disneyland, because as wonderfully enjoyable as those trips would be, I am only able to sit by the wood stove in a rocking chair, reading my Bible, and waiting for the winter to thaw out into a pleasant spring.
From the Archives -
Please don't be one of these - Ex - Housewife.
A Summer Visit to our Property - Tour of the Estate Grounds.
For those Difficult Days - Prayers Which Cannot be Uttered.
Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.