Seeing the kids out sledding this past week brought back memories of snow days and how much fun we had sledding when I was a child back in the early 1960s. The things kids slide downhill on have changed a lot. Most of the kids I saw this week were using brightly colored plastic objects in various shapes. Back in the day, we had sleds made of wood with steel runners. There wasn’t anything else except runnerless wood toboggans which didn’t work very well in the heavy, wet snow we got most often in the area where I grew up. Sleds were expensive, and families with several children usually had only one, or perhaps two, for all the kids in the family to share.
You could ride your sled either sitting up and steering with your feet, or lying on your stomach and steering with your hands. The sleds were heavy, and kids with sleds let those who didn’t have one of their own ride downhill with them in return for help hauling it back to the top of the hill. Having the fastest sled on the block was a big deal, and Flexible Flyer was the brand that everyone wanted. They were the fastest sleds on the hill every time.
Our town was hilly with lots of open space, so we had several prime sledding hills to choose from. We spent hours sliding down and dragging our sleds back up. On snow days or weekends we went out right after breakfast, came in for lunch and a change of dry clothing, and then went back out until we were called in for dinner. On school days we went outside as soon as we could get home and change into our play clothes. We kept this up as long as the snow lasted. Good times!
Elaine from Connecticut sent us the following comment:
For Christmas in 1963 my sister and I were given the latest innovation in sledding technology, bowl-shaped aluminum disks called “Flying Saucers.” They were fun because they let you spin around as you slid downhill, but steering was impossible so you couldn’t race with them. They were also prone to spectacular wipeouts. If you weren’t sitting in the exact middle of the saucer it would roll over, and you and the saucer would somersault down the hill. I don’t know how we didn’t break our necks.
K. from New York sent us the following comment:
I was lucky enough to have a 60″ Flexible Flyer which I inherited from a high school-aged cousin. It was always the fastest sled on the hill! Going down was great, but boy, what a chore dragging it back to the top!
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