January Window

Garrison Keillor said in one of his “News From Lake Wobegon” segments – “January is hard on people.”

Even though the daylight hours begin to increase, the promise of spring seems far off. The mornings are cold, and the nights are colder. The ice and snow that makes winter such a joy for children can be trying for the elderly. My great-grandmother, Lydia Jane Hall, saw winter life on the farm from her seat by the window. She lamented the frigid temperatures that made her suffer, but also praised the beauty of a deep January winter.

"January WIndow," Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

“January WIndow,” Carol Crump Bryner, monoprint

Monday, January 29, 1912 – “Cold. Snowed all day. Washed. Put out clothes, but didn’t dry. Brought them in frozen stiff, and dried them in the house. Ellsworth cutting cornstalks.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Tuesday, January 25, 1921 – “Very cold this morn. The night was so cold and the wind blew fearfully – couldn’t sleep. My room so cold. Agnes took the horse and carriage. Took Lydia to the dancing school. Said she wasn’t cold coming home.” – Lydia Jane Hall

Tuesday, January 22, 1924 – “Very cold morning. Below zero. Children going to school. Men getting wood and working in the barnyard. Work going on indoors as usual. Very cold – making beds upstairs – hands ache with the cold. Cloudy in afternoon – wind rising which makes us think and hope there is no blizzard coming. Night here and we are tucked away in bed with the bright moonlight shining.” – Lydia Jane Hall

See also: April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December windows

On Monday:  Electricity

4 thoughts on “January Window

  1. Katy Gilmore

    January IS hard on people, but I am going to be thankful for my well-insulated and heated house all day! I love these monoprints – how frozen those clothes must have been, and it seems like Lydia Jane wrote her journal at night like you do –

  2. Rebecca Norton

    In Maine, some families still hang clothes out in the winter. Takes a while. The drawng is a reminder that we don’t REALLY NEED our dryers.

  3. Pete Foster

    Dear Carol,

    I was born in January, 88 years ago, so January has always been a special month for me. Having been a skier, also, it has provided me with many happy hours on the slopes and, believe it or not I even enjoy shoveling snow when it is needed. I think I would have made a pretty good farmhand, even in the winter.

    Your efforts in recalling past years on Whirlwind Hill and the amazing collection of photos plus the very attractive drawings and paintings all are very much appreciated. You are so fortunate to have the huge collection of material which was carefully preserved by your forebears. And, you are very brave and diligent to be putting so much effort and time into the retelling of those times of old.

    We are enjoying every episode and our family thanks you each day we review your efforts. Those are tales worth telling and a joy to bring to mind again. Thank you for including us in the results of your unusual attention to detaiing your family history.

    Your admiring former neighbor,

    1. Carol Post author

      Thanks so much Pete. Yes – I think you would have made a great farmhand! And if you like to shovel snow you would have also made a good Alaskan!


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