Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
February is usually the month that can be the cruelest as far as snow and cold weather goes. But although I’m growing old and worry about slippery steps and icy parking lots, I still love winter. I try not to tell too many people about this since they think I’m a bit crazy.
Why would I love cold, slush and below zero temperatures? I believe it’s the wonderful memories I have of winter when I was growing up in Chicago. We had the opportunity to go sledding every day after school and ice skating on weekends. Crack the whip was the kids and my favorite game to play on the ice. We didn’t have warming houses at all the ponds that I skated on. Some parks always had a nice warm field house to warm yourself in when your feet felt like, well like nothing, because you couldn’t feel them at all. Walking to the ice skating pond was ok but walking back home was when you’d try to ask mom for a dime to take the bus home. Most times she would ask me to walk home or just not go skating if it was that cold.
Whenever it snowed, and it did a lot when I was a girl, I loved how it looked and how quiet it was outside in a snowstorm. Fresh snow would always sparkle at night under the street lights. I don’t ever remember having snow days back then so that wasn’t one of the reasons that I loved winter. Snow ball fights, snow forts and snowmen are some of the other reasons I loved it.
When I had my own children, I loved to go out and pull them on the sled. Of course I was the reindeer and I had sleigh bells that I hung from my neck. It was fun and my neighbors thought I was crazy.
I hope you have a chance to enjoy this winter. The Hoffman Estates Park District has outdoor ice skating at South Ridge Park, Highpoint Park and Evergreen Park. When the flag is green, it’s a go for skating. The red flag means the ice is not thick enough to walk or skate on. You can go sledding at Pine Park and don’t forget the Cook County Forest Preserve tails that offer more winter recreation opportunities. Winter in Hoffman Estates can be a lot of fun. Over the years the Park District has added so many beautiful parks to our village. Go to HEParks.org to locate them on their map. Get outdoors and enjoy the winter season.
Hoffman Estates Village Historian