Reflections on Growing Up in Wisconsin
by Jeffrey Sward
 

The experience of spending the first half of a childhood in Wisconsin creates some interesting effects. Things taken for granted in Wisconsin are often unusual concepts elsewhere.

  • The first snow arrives in late October or early November. Snow is on the ground continuously until April. When friends move to Ohio and mention "snow which does not last" in December, it is a foreign concept.
  • The song "White Christmas" makes no sense because every Christmas is white.
  • Snow is white in Winter and brown in Spring.
  • When the temperature is 20 degrees, people ask "above or below?"
  • Everybody keeps four wheels with snow tires in the garage during Summer, which are swapped with regular tires in Winter. All-weather radials are now an alternative for non-traditionalists.
  • Everybody has at least one plastic windshield scraper with an attached brush in the car.
  • The Green Bay Packers are not a football team. The Green Bay Packers are not a religion. The Green Bay Packers are some sort of inevitable force of nature, such as the wind or rain. People who otherwise know nothing about sports can recite from memory the current Packers roster and individual statistics, as well as offer an opinion about strategy.
  • It is normal that the Packers only sell season tickets. It is normal that there is a waiting list of seventeen years for the next season ticket. It is normal that Packers season tickets are passed from generation to generation.
  • Every Packers home game has no more than three empty seats. The holders of the season tickets which allowed the empty seats will be contacted Monday by their friends and neighbors, who will want to know: (a) were you take very ill very suddenly and (b) if not, there are 307 people who could have used your tickets.
  • The expressions "those guys" and "them guys" have separate grammatically correct uses. Only a foreigner would mix them up.
  • "th" is pronounced "d."
  • Having your arm turn black with mosquitoes when walking outdoors at night in Summer is a normal occurrence.
  • No matter how cold it gets in Wisconsin, there is solace in knowing that at least one location in Minnesota is slightly colder.
  • Cars in Winter have are two strategies. Either you get the heavy car which plows through the snow or you get the light car which rides on top of the snow.
  • When buying a used car, nobody asks if the engine is good. You can always put in a new engine. What is important is that the body is in good condition.
  • Most years trick or treating is done in the snow.
  • Many people have white stones next to their driveway.
  • The Great Depression ended in Milwaukee when FDR brought back beer.
 
 

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