Winters were always very cold and full of fresh snow when I was a kid.

The very first thing I and my friends did after breakfast was get dressed and grab our sleigh or skates. We went directly out to the hill and it was impossible for our parents to lure us back in, even if it were to have our meals.

Each kid those days possessed an overall made of a polyester material filled with thick cotton wool that made a loud rubbing sound when we were walking. They were named “füss-füss” after the sound they produced.

They were quite warm and practical unless they got wet (which they eventually did after a few hours in the snow) or you had to go to the bathroom, which was always dangerous. You could not just lower your pants and go behind the garage as usual because you had to take off half of your clothes and you would simply freeze.

As soon as you went home to the bathroom, the probability that your parents would not let you go back was quite high (because of the mentioned reasons such as eating food).

Erika and I often shared a sleigh. We spent all day long running up the hill, staying in line, and sliding down on our family sleigh. Boys often made fun of our sleigh, but we did not care.

Family sleighs were old fashioned as they were used to put two-three small kids on them and be pulled by parents. Often, they had support made of steel at the back so that no kid fell or got lost (which sometimes happened when parents executed a sudden pull).

Plastic sleighs for one person were very fashionable and cool those days and most boys could persuade their parents into buying them one.

Running up and sleighing down the hill was obviously just one of the many adventures we had in the snow. It often snowed for days without stopping so that often the height of the snow exceeded one meter.

There was more than plenty of snow to build snowmen after snowmen competing about which one was the best looking and the highest.

Some of them had real carrot noses and wore pots on their heads. Some even wore jackets and skirts.

Some were really fat and so high that our parents had to help us put the snowballs together. Building snowmen was always a collective work that required teamwork and lots of coordination and fantasy.

Sometimes we even built bunkers where we hid during lunchtime to avoid being begged to go home.

It was so much fun to be inside a hermetic space that blocked out noises and light.

We never felt hunger or cold even if our stomachs were making funny noises and we could not move our hands and feet because they were completely soaked and frozen.

We would sit there and giggle when our parents started calling us. Our idyll was always interrupted by one or other parent head appearing at the entrance of the bunker. That´s when we knew it was over: we were defeated.

Should the cold get into our bones, Erika and I sneaked into the staircase of our building that had a heater right in front of the basement door.

We took off our jackets, our gloves, hats, and shawls, put them on the hot heater and we physically glued ourselves to it. Our bodies were trembling and our teeth chattering loudly.

Our hands were dark red, and we could not feel them, but we suffered through the pain rather than go home and risk not being let out again.

During those winters, our Mures river froze completely. People would clear the snow in many places that were sometimes meters long, and we would grab our skates and skate on it.

As the river was a few kilometers away, we were not allowed to go there by ourselves. However, we made a family and neighbor event out of it. Fathers would put their kids on sleighs and pull them to the river. There, everybody would trade their shoes into skates, and we would spend hours and hours skating and having fun on the river.

Also, the water in the vikkend* complex would freeze, and it would turn into a skating ring during the winter. The town always decorated the place with lights and cartoon figurines which turned the place into a magical winter land.

Snow fights were of course also very popular, and we always built two armies to fight against each other.

We would produce a huge number of snowballs in advance so that when the fight started, we would have enough munition to scare the opposite army.

As soon as the starting signal went off, hundreds of snowballs would fly through the air and would literally land everywhere: on faces, backs, shoulders, windows, cars, buildings, trees, dogs.