Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The winters of my childhood January 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:56 AM
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You could hardly wait to rush out the door and slog through freshly-fallen snow, plowing furrows for a game of fox-and-goose.

You could barely wait for Dad to push bucketsful of snow from the farmyard with his tractor and loader into mountains suitable for scaling.


Three of my younger siblings and I pose atop a snow mountain our dad created in our southwestern Minnesota farmyard in this photo dated February 1967.

You excitedly dug into the sides of snowdrifts, hard as bedrock, to carve out snow caves.

You raced across the tops of those snowdrifts, up and down and all around the world of white.


Our southwestern Minnesota farmyard is buried in snowdrifts in this March 1965 image. My mom is holding my youngest sister as she stands by the car parked next to the house. My other sister and two brothers and I race down the snowdrifts.

You packed snow into hard balls, aiming for siblings, wiggling and screaming at the brother who grabbed your collar and stuffed ice-cold snow down the back of your neck.

And when the snow was the perfect consistency, you rolled and packed it into big balls, shoving and grunting and straining, working together with classmates or siblings to build a snowman or a snow fort.

Such were the winters of my childhood on a southwestern Minnesota farm. Fierce. Brutal. But, mostly, fun.

Today, living through one of our snowiest winters in forever, I am reminded of those childhood winters. I would be wise to remember the fun I once experienced on the cold, snowy, wind-swept Minnesota prairie.


This huge, hard-as-rock snowdrift blocked our farm driveway in this March 1965 photo. My uncle drove over from his nearby farm to help open the drive so the milk truck could reach the milkhouse. That's my mom and five of us kids atop the drift.

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES of childhood winters?

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling