Monday, January 10, 2011

my Arctic Cat jacket

I was recently reminded of my last winter living in Wisconsin. I was 20 years old and working as a hairdresser. I had graduated from cosmetology school the year before... and working at Nadine's Beauty Shop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It would be my first, last and only job in that field. Btw, my boss was 65 years old and my fellow employee was 69. I'm not even kidding.
Anyway, I lived in an old house a mile from work, with great roommates and I walked to and from work every day (up hill both ways- ha). I never had a car until I met Randy a year later and bought his Mamaw Beans '62 Chevy for $500.00. 

Mrs. McGillicutty modeling my beloved jacket
Well, one morning, during that winter of '77 it was 52 degrees below zero when I walked to work. I'm not even exaggerating. Ok, so maybe a tad. It was probably 49 below zero in Eau Claire, but my Mom called and said they were recording 52 below at the farm, so for drama's sake, I choose to error on what the farm recorded.
First of all, there was no wind. In fact, there were no sounds, except the crunching of my boots as I walked briskly along the snow packed sidewalks. Every inch of me was covered in thick layers except for a slight sliver of light allowing me to see.
And, I was wearing my newly purchased neon green Arctic Cat snowmobile jacket that seriously made it possible for me to get to work that day. I was not cold in the least. Yes, a very quality jacket. For those who are curious, I paid over $50.00. That was a lot of money back then. And as you can see, I have yet to part with that life-saving jacket all these 34 years later. Ok, so it didn't actually save my life, but I believe it to be the one jacket that will, if I'm ever in danger of freezing to death. Which isn't likely living here in Phoenix.
To be honest with you, I have had a hard time parting with four items that I brought out here to Phoenix 34 years ago... my Arctic Cat jacket, my Sears Kenmore sewing machine, my bike and my 13 inch TV. They were all big-time, hard-earned purchases. Randy & I used that 13 inch TV for the first 13 years of our marriage... sold the bike at a yard sale... and still have the jacket and my beloved Sears sewing machine. Does that make me a hoarder? Maybe only half a hoarder. Or maybe just extremely sentimental.


Sharon Larson said...

I'm laughing and smiling for so many reasons. One is because of the way you told this story, and the other is the temperature your mom recorded at the farm. Always enjoying some competition over the weather, your mom would naturally have colder temperature readings. Haha. I love the coat too! I'm so thankful it saved your life!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

That is just awesome Linda!
I wish I had saved special things like that! What a story and of course I know it really can get that cold here!
See You soon!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite jackets from high school was a Kelly green pea-coat with Christmas red lining. It cost me $4, which is unusual for me to remember because I never remember prices, but it was my favorite coat. It wasn't nearly as warm as yours, I'm sure. But it was quite striking. I think I even have a picture of myself wearing it. I'll have to dig it out someday. I was reminded of it the other day at Penney's when I saw a similar style in a similar green, but it didn't have the cool red lining. I was tempted to get it though. They had lots of great colors...I'll have to go back and see what's still on clearance.