No matter how far away Wisconsinites end up, there are certain shared experiences that keep us connected to where we’re from. Whether it was hoping for snow days, learning you have an accent, or experiencing the magic (and pain) of every passing season, certain childhood memories unite cheeseheads across generations and geography. Here are 13 memories you have if you grew up in Wisconsin.
1. Praying for snow days.
We all had our lucky rituals to try to make a snow day happen. From staring up at the sky, willing with all our might to make snowflakes start to fall, to lucky socks and many other creative superstitions, we lived in hope of hearing our mom shouting “snow day!” at dawn.
2. Making the snake tail magically rattle at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
The cool kids knew exactly where the secret button was and made sure to push their way to the front of the line to prove it. Even if you didn’t get to rattle it on a school trip, at least when you visited with your out-of-town cousins, you got your time to shine.
3. Bringing home holiday treasures from a farm.
Whether it was cutting down a tree for Christmas, choosing the biggest pumpkin possible for Halloween, or picking fresh apples, strawberries, or cherries, Wisconsin’s far-reaching farmlands assured that kids across the state, from small towns to urban areas, would have a piece of nature for their holidays.
4. Freezing while sitting on the school bus as it’s stuck in the snow.
We tried telling the weather guy that he should have declared a snow day!
5. Learning that you have an accent.
We all remember the first time someone pointed out that we have a funny accent. It was likely an annoying cousin at a family reunion and they could probably tell just by the way we said what state we were from.
6. Experiencing four seasons during one sports game.
Playing sports growing up, we had to be prepared to play whether it rained, shined, snowed, or hailed, often all within the same game.
7. Coming of age at Summerfest.
Summerfest made us grow up, and fast. It taught us to gracefully land a kiss on the skyglider, all while keeping lookout for our parents or their friends when flying over the oldies stage as we muttered to ourselves, “That will never be me!”
8. Being jealous of the kid who had their birthday party in Wisconsin Dells.
If you were one of those lucky kids who got to blow out their candles among giant water slides and an even more giant Paul Bunyan, know that the rest of us are still envious.
9. Dining out at Supper Club for special occasions.
Cue the memories of wood-paneled rooms, maraschino cherries, kiddie cocktails, old fashioneds, broasted chicken, and Friday night fish fries. Wisconsin never felt so classy.
10. Watching Packer games on the TV without the sound.
Who needs national coverage when you could get game coverage, pronounced with the correct accent, right on the Packers Radio Network? As an added bonus, you could hear Larry McCarren unabashedly shout for two extra seconds of joy every time Donald Driver caught another Aaron Rodgers dart for a touchdown.
11. Eating cream puffs bigger than your head.
Summer wasn’t complete without a visit to the Wisconsin State Fair and getting lost among the cow pavilions while holding the largest piece of pastry you had ever seen in your life.
12. Swearing by your favorite custard place.
Whether it was in your own neighborhood or a drive across town, we knew which place had the best custard around, and made sure everyone else did, too.
13. Warming up Wisconsin-style at Packer games.
We all had that cool aunt who somehow managed to slip a flask of peppermint schnapps in her jacket and tipped a little in your hot chocolate with a wink between plays to keep you warm. It always seemed extremely impressive at the time, but now that we think about it, hiding a flask among 38 layers of clothing probably wasn’t that hard.