The Snowman…

It’s snowing. The weather forecasters did a good job of frightening us into stocking our refrigerators, cancelling our plans and parking our cars.

The 159th Academy of Music Concert and Ball in Philadelphia was canceled for the first time in history. The airport closed and the governor issued a State of Emergency.

Academy of Music phila

It’s beautiful when I can stay in and watch mother- nature create her winter master piece through the window. Snuggled on my big red sofa with a mug of French vanilla hot cocoa I remembered snowstorms from my childhood.

I grew up in Lorraine Gardens, a tight knit neighborhood in the Somerton section of North Philadelphia. My father worked the 3pm-11pm shift as the VIP rep for Eastern Airlines at the Philadelphia Airport. Because storms were the busiest time at the airport we would sometimes not see dad for days. Those very important people needed first class attention in the event of travel delays.

When I think of snow and my childhood, I remember a lot of it. I remember the Acme parking lot at the top of Delray Street and watching as plows pushed enough snow against light poles to create frozen mountains. My siblings, cousins, friends and I would run to the top, jump from one to the other and slide down and climb back up those mountains for hours, sometimes days.

In January of 1966 a typical nor’easter, much like the one we are having now dumped so many inches so quickly that dad could not get his little red Metropolitan out of the driveway, let alone down the Schuylkill Expressway. I-95 was still being built at that time. He had no choice but to stay home.

Metropolitan car

The first thing he did was build us an igloo in the back yard. It had three rooms. We hung curtains and put in throw rugs to sit on. We played in our snowy castle all day.


As the sun started to go down I asked my dad to build a snow man for me, in front of the igloo. My sister, brother and I went inside to warm up and eat dinner. By the time dad came in it was dark. He told us to come over and look out the back door.

In front of the igloo was a snowman wearing a green hat. Dad put a flash light under the hat so it was glowing. I fell in love with that snowman and that is one of my happiest memories with my dad.

Last year around this time, I was working as a caregiver to an elderly, bed ridden woman. I sat by her bed and told her it started to snow. She smiled as she told me story after story of snowy day memories from her childhood in central Pennsylvania. It happened to be the one-year-anniversary of my dad’s passing that day and I had been fighting tears all day. I told her the story of the snowman with the bright green hat and I could no longer fight the tears.

Not wanting her to see me cry I decided to go to the window and take a picture of the snow for her. When I got back to her bedside and showed her the photo this is what we both saw.

Snowman ghost

Thank you for building me a snowman, Dad!

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