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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Charlotte Mandel

Snow Maiden

In winter, our kitchen window served as an extra icebox. The wide wooden sill supported a galvanized tin lidded box perfect for storing bottles of milk, cottage cheese and sour cream. Sweet cream to pour over my chocolate pudding was available as “top milk”—cream that separated and rose to the top unless the bottle were energetically shaken. With hard work, the cream could be beaten into near butter.

The window served also as beauty aid. At first snow, my mother opened the window, filled her palm with the white cold fluff, and washed it over my face. This, she said, was for the complexion, to guarantee rosy cheeks. It must have been effective—my school friends accused me of wearing rouge before we were allowed to use makeup.

white lace
on a tenement sill