I grew up in the lake effect snows and cold winds of Michigan. As a youth, my Christmas gift selection for my parents usually ended up as another sweater for mother and a new tool for my dad to replace the one I had lost. My loot for Christmas always included some warm winter clothes. Not my first choice for presents but a necessity for I had out grown, worn out or lost last winter’s supply of gloves, scarves and wool caps.
I allowed do some of the snow shoveling, and when the lakes and rivers froze over it was hockey time. I spent a good part of every day outdoors in snow forts, ice caves and in snowball fights. It was homework, housework or outdoors, no wasted time watching TV. If I had time to watch TV, my parents found something useful for me to do. I escaped outdoors to avoid housework.
Getting back on topic there was no such thing as lazing about in blue jeans and a tee shirt, like men folk do now. We dressed in layers of under shirts and long sleeve flannel shirts in addition to jeans with no holes in them. If I was going outdoors, I had long johns on under the blue jeans. The long johns were white with a touch of blue jean dye for contrast.
My mother wore a lot of sweaters and her dressy outfits included a vest or jacket.
Boys and men wore pull over sweaters to dress up a little and keep warm. Sweater vests and cardigans were more for relaxing evenings. Sweatshirts were for athletes and only worn while exercising. They were not a fashion statement or for daily wear.
Heating oil was 24 cents and gasoline was 32 cents a gallon. The house was never warmer than 68. The heat was turned way down at night and I would open my bedroom window, just a crack, for fresh air even in January.
Wool slipper-socks or other warm slippers were needed as protection from cold wood or tile floors. If you went bare footed to the bathroom your feet froze.
Now that I am an old man I still layer up to keep warm. I wear two or three layers of shirts in the house on cold days. I think my wife wears 5 layers. She is shedding or adding a layer all the time so it is hard to count.
Her feet are kept warm with sheepskin slippers, with the fur side inside, plus very good socks. The socks are special ordered from Snyder's Shoe store in Manistee Michigan.
My doctors have very specifically ordered me to never never go bare foot. So, of course that is just what I do until my feet start to freeze, then it is slippers for me too. To keep warm in spite of my bare feet I wear a ratty old wool shirt jacket that is thermal lined and has too many pockets.
No, I do not wear a nightcap, but I can understand why they were popular now that I have lost most of my hair. What do you wear too keep warm in the winter when the thermostat is locked on a chilly temperature?
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