Sunday, 16 May 2010

Stereotypes

The last time I was in New York state I was 8 years old. We were on our way home from Prince Edward Island. We had travelled through Canada to get there and travelled through the northern states to return home. We saw the skyline of New York city from a distance and camped in a New York state campground.
In the campground, as with most campgrounds, we met some nice families. I don't know if it was the fact that we were in a school bus converted into a camper, or the frendly people, or the combination of both? Anyway, I remember this particular stop because of what happened.
At this campsite, one family asked lots of questions about our home in Canada. Did we live in igloos? How cold was it?
At eight years old I was pretty disgusted by their lack of knowledge. We were only a day out of Canada, by bus. I'd never seen an igloo in my whole life. I didn't even know how they built igloos. In fact, I was pretty sure they were built of ice.
My experience with structures built out of ice was limited to the amazing ice slides my father built for us each winter. These ice slides were snow packed on a large plywood board that my dad would lean against our playhouse deck. To us this was at least a million feet off of the ground, in reality, about 6 feet or so. Dad leaned the plywood against our slide and then he would pack on the snow and bring it down to the ground packing it into a nice curve around our yard. It was a wonderful ride, where you needed to tuck your elbows in to get the best distance and to ensure minimal brusing, the round sled was the best.
The reason the slide was so great was because of the time and effort dad spent on the ice. He hooked the hose up to the kitchen sink and sprayed the snow carefully to make a smooth surface. There were also buckets and buckets of water carried out. This process was somewhat mysterious, since it generally occurred while we were getting ready for bed and not under foot.

However, this was my only reference to ice making. Frankly, ice making in my mind for igloos seemed to involve hoses and kitchen sinks...my dad had built us forts, they were tiny and you couldn't sleep in those. It was confusing and we were in shorts at a campground where adults were asking if we lived in an igloo. I guess that's why I've remembered it all these years.
By the way, I also know that igloos are actually made with snow, not ice. I guess I wasn't the only person who was living in stereotype world! Go figure!

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