Weik kids and Illinois winters, my family saw a lot of winter weather in the Midwest. Richard, John and I were born in Davenport, Scott, Iowa so we started out from the very beginning in the cold or at least I did – I was born in December. Richard in July 1952 and John Weik April 1954.
My father Merle Otto Weik was in the steel fabrication business and we moved to Rock Island and then to Joliet before settling in Streator, LaSalle, Illinois. So when you grew up in Illinois you pretty much knew you were going to have snow and cold in your life.
As kids, I don’t remember the cold like I do today. All we knew back then was get your sled and meet your friends on the sledding hill. There was a place close by my house that the neighborhood kids would always get together. I remember there being lots of trees so you had to learn to maneuver through them if you wanted to make it to the bottom that ended at a frozen creek. We didn’t have the winter wardrobes they have today when I went out I came back wet and cold. It wasn’t the wet and cold that bothered me it was all the fun I was having with my friends that I never forgot.
We would stay as long as we could trying to beat the other one down the hill. As one by one started to leave we all vowed to meet the next day to do it all again. We went home around lunchtime and my mother Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik would either have the Chicken Noodle soup or Tomato soup ready to sit down and slurp!
I have said before when I was going to school in Illinois we didn’t get hardly any snow days like the kids get today. If we would have taken every day it snowed off we would have been making up those school days in the middle of the summer. No one wanted that to happen so we stuck it out.
I remember the days in fifth and sixth grade when we had to be bused across town to attend school. The girls were still wearing dresses back then and I remember how cold my legs got waiting for the bus. On the very coldest days, we wore slacks under our dresses which we immediately took off when we got to school.
In high school, I remember only being dismissed one afternoon because of snow. We got twenty-three inches that day and it was finally enough snow to let the kids out early. I looked out a school window and saw how high the snow actually was on the building.
We got the chance to make several snowmen over the years in Illinois and then the snowball fights were so much fun as well.
This week it will be bitterly cold in Illinois and Iowa among other states. I still have many friends in Illinois and my daughter and her family live in Iowa. Don’t forget to check on your family and friends. Take a little time out to sit with a cup of hot cocoa or hot tea and remember the good times when you were a kid in the Midwest in the winter! What were your memories?
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