The snow was falling like a blanket, and I could barely see the next door neighbor’s trailer. One parent grabbed my hand and the other shut the door to our trailer’s plywood covered porch. I was never sure, beneath all the coats and gloves, who had been holding onto me. The short walk to the neighbor’s front porch seemed like an adventure, for all the lack of visibility. Father said “He’s got the coal stove going full bore.” I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, until we stepped inside a shimmering wall of heat so overwhelming, that the snow driving in with us was melting before it reached the linoleum floor.
Mother babysat a boy about my age in the mornings. He used to eat breakfast and then walk to the bus stop with me. He would stare at me so intently as I was eating, that it became unnerving. I asked him not to look at me, but Mother told me to hurry up and eat. So I took the various boxes of breakfast cereals, and made a wall separating myself from the other side of the table. It was ineffective.
There was an open house at Father’s work. The room was expansive, and filled with many metal machines. One made a rhythmic stamping sound that was loud enough to rattle my teeth. The whole place smelled like oil. I couldn’t imagine then, Father spending his days in such a place.