It was late winter, perhaps mid-January, when the skies are thick with a dreary mist. My brother and sister and their pals were planning to play in the field across the street from our house in Fond du Lac. Being the youngest and wanting to always be a part of their shenanigans, I pleaded with our mother to bundle me up in my snowsuit and boots so I could join them. She reluctantly did so but put my siblings in charge. This did not make them happy. I was a nuisance and would tell on them if they did anything mischievous. But they could not refuse, so I tagged along a few steps behind.
When we reached the ditch in front of our house, the group jumped across the ice-glazed water. Being last again, I cried because I knew they would leave me behind if I did not jump. They taunted that if I wanted to be a part of the group, I would have to cross the ditch by myself. Well, that was enough encouragement for me. My little legs would never make the jump, so I took that first step onto the ice; my boots crunching the thin layer of ice covering the darker ice below it.