“When I was kid, my social network was called ‘outside’ “
Going back, in time
This is the work one of pure fiction. Neither polar bears nor reindeer were harmed in the creation of this literary process!
The year was 1924.
Longitude and latitude: Somewhere up north, thataway! The Finnish Lapland would probably be the most accurate location for this tale.
How old was I?
I guess I was somewhere between ten and twelve years of age. In those days, people were born and they died. No one really bothered with the record keeping. Lord knows there were plenty of us to go around.
Despite the fact it was close to midsummer, there was still snow on the ground. The reindeer and polar bears were roaming the streets while us kids were running around, having snowball fights. That is, during the minimum spare time we had between school, chores and work. Sleeping in those days was a luxury. Sometimes we had a full night’s sleep, sometimes the watch duty fell on my plate and I needed to stay up all night. Luckily, coffee had been invented ten years prior and we were all pretty much hooked on the sweet dark liquid.
Our housing for the winter months was an igloo, which the whole family constructed out of ice. Snow was used as plaster to fill in any holes between the blocks of ice. During the summer time, we had a tent like structure made out of bear and deer skin. Unfortunately all of us favoured the winter dwelling for one simple fact: The summer house stunk like a skunk. The choice of material was not a good one, but then, it was depression and all commodities were scarce.
The trip to school, either winter or summer time was made on skis and it was part to the exercise curriculum for all of us still eligible for the classes. A twenty kilometer trip back and forth was not a big deal and was building the strength and endurance nicely. This also came in handy for our after school activities. Some of us went to work in the coal mines, while others were herding rein deer or taking care of their younger siblings.
Each Saturday the Sauna was heated and all the family gathered into the cramped little room, heated up to eighty degrees. We were sitting all butt cheek to butt cheek in the nude on a wooden construct in the small dark room. Only the burning fire in the stove gave some lighting. As a luffa, a loosely tied bunch of birch tree branches with leaves on them was used. Out mother pummeled us with the concoction and me thinks she enjoyed it a little too much. Granted we children gave her grieve sometimes, so I will give her that.
Bathing for us then meant taking dips in the icy, below freezing waters. This, after we had first heated our body temperatures close to baking. Then we ran naked to the lake, where a large hole had been dug into the ice and plunged in.
All in all life was pretty ordinary and uneventful in my childhood, apart from the minor quirks.
Do I miss it? My childhood?
I would rather spend my next holiday on a labour camp!