Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Writing Challenge & the Snow!

This weekend, Nemo blanketed the East Coast with more than two feet of snow. Four days later the snow continues to cause havoc resulting in school cancellations and difficult driving conditions. Under any standards this was a BIG storm. The travel ban imposed this weekend kept us all home sipping hot chocolate and cooking delicious meals! The long weekend, enabled me to catch up on back episodes of Downton Abbey and get ahead in the Writing Challenge I'm participating in. This February, I joined the family history writing challenge headed by +Lynn Palermothe Armchair Genealogist. For a long time I’ve wanted to write a story about William Bloomfield, my great-grandfather. The writing challenge has help jumpstart this project. +Lynn Palermo provides great support to the more than six hundred participants in the challenge, including a newsletter full of writing tips, prompts and advice. One great suggestion she gave was to use photographs to inspire our writing. The storm, brought to mind this great photo of the Bloomfields in the snow and inspired my writing throughout the weekend.

Ethel, Minnie and William Bloomfield
Houston, Texas
Winter 1927 or 1928
Both Minnie and William, were from the Russian Pale area also known as White Russia. The whiteout conditions this weekend certainly felt like we were in the Russian tundra. My ancestors grew up battling the elements and were accustomed to difficult winters. They spent their early years in America on the East Coast, where winters were not necessarily much better than where they came from. In her memoir, Stored Treasures, Minnie describes how she struggled with the cold in the one room barn they converted into a home and grocery store near Laconia, New Hampshire. 
"I suffered a lot from the below-zero temperatures. My feet and fingers froze. The little wood-burning stove that provided heat was inadequate. It burn my dress if I got close enough to keep warm and froze me all over if I kept a fair distance from it."
The cold was one of the main factors leading to their decision to settle in Houston, Texas. 
Houston historically received very little snow. Once every ten years or so, the city found itself covered in an inch or two of the white fluffy stuff. While my great-grandparents, don't look thrilled with the weather as they posed for the photo above, Ethel, who was about six-years-old in this snapshot, looks quite proud. She may not have built this snowman—she looks a bit too dry—but she certainly enjoyed her first real snowstorm and the snowman, skinny as he was! (Ethel, left New Hampshire at the age of two, and snow was not part of her conscious memory). 

Do you have photos of your ancestors in the snow? Do share!

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