Frozen America the national weather channel announced this week!

After the calendar flipped to 2018, the temperatures in north Florida dipped way low. Low by Florida standards of course. On Thursday morning, January 4, Jacksonville International Airport temps reached 27 degrees. The thermometer on our lanai registered 31 degrees, slightly higher because we live further east and closer to water.

Plants under cover huddled together on our lanai hoping to survive.

A far cry from the screened-in outdoorsy space we enjoy most of the year . . .

Before the freeze, I snatched a crimson hibiscus from the stalk near the patio, rescuing it from certain death.



In 1921, when my Aunt Ruthie was 3 years old, her mother must have shielded her from freezing temperatures during the long Pennsylvania winter.


Last year we discovered deep in her cedar-lined painted chest a muff and neckpiece with a note attached.

“My Muff and neckpiece which I used many, many years as a little girl, to keep my hands & neck warm. – Most my little girl coats were handmade or hand me down (boy) coats.”


Our Aunt was understandably proud of her furry accessories, but acknowledged that she also wore hand-me-downs, probably some of my father’s coats, her older brother Ray. Long before recycling was popular, this Mennonite family like many others of the era practiced frugality.

The lovely painted chest (1835) in which the muff and neckpiece were found has a carefully preserved provenance.


On January 1, 2000, she recorded the history of the chest through another hand-written note again in cursive style.

Ruth M. Longenecker received this chest for a H. S. graduation gift in 1935. The chest was a gift from her parents, Fannie Martin Longenecker & Henry Risser Longenecker. – Mr. Griffith, an antique restorer from E-Town cedar lined the chest. The 1835 stenciled date is under the cedar lining at the top of the lid.


She also included a photograph of the previous owner, Henry E. Martin

Thank you for joining the conversation:

Do you recall what you wore as a child, especially in cold temperatures?

Perhaps you have a special chest in your family. What is stored inside?

How has the weather affected your activities lately?

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