In Buffalo we seem to start thinking of winter the moment the Erie County Fair ends. A generation or two ago, winter was something that needed a bit more preparation than it does in 2015—especially if, back then, you were getting your brother or sister’s leaky hand-me-down boots to wear every day from November to March.
Putting on socks, then bread bags, then boots was a routine of chilly Western New York winters for decades.
In my neighborhood, we looked to tell something about kids from their bread bags. Colorful polka dots on a white background meant you were wearing Wonder Bread bags on your feet. This was basically the Lacoste alligator emblem of dry feet.
Yellow, orange and brown bags sticking out of the tops of your boots meant that your parents drove an extra couple of blocks to shop at Bells.
But most kids—including my brother, sister, and me—always had the red, white and blue of the Tops bags shown below, on sale this week 40 years ago for 39¢ a loaf.
Even with the jamming of every spent bread bag in that special drawer in the kitchen for the whole year-round, there never seemed to be enough bags for all of our playing and walking to school all winter.
Not that they really kept our feet dry, anyway.