As a suburban family, we lived outside the city of Chicago, some thirty miles south. The area wasn’t big enough to be called a city, so it was known as a village. And the population was approximately 2,500. The family home measured some 980 square feet. It was a little frame house, red and white, with four small bedrooms, one bathroom, a full-sized kitchen and living room, with a big backyard.
When our parents first bought that house (sometime around 1955), it wasn’t equipped with a gas or electric furnace. It had one of those huge outdoor, stand-alone tanks for heating. Mom never let that tank get bone dry, though. If my memory doesn’t fail me, the fuel delivery person would come every four weeks to fill it up.
“Oooh weee, it’s gonna be a cold winter. Time to winterize!” Mom would tell us, dragging her words out. “Take this tape out there and wrap those pipes. Ya’ll wrap ’em good and tight, y’hear? Wouldn’t want ’em to freeze up on us.”
Wrapping the pipes wasn’t a job any of us was fond of, and yet it had to be done. It was eighteen years later when mom converted that heating unit from oil to gas, and what a big difference it made. It meant no more wrapping those pipes! . . .
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