There was not room for all three of us to be positioned to receive heat being radiated from the fire. Since it was usually too hot to stand still in front of the fire long, all three of us twisted and turned to spread and share the heat. We seemed to be performing this un-choreographed dance as we took turns being the one directly in front of the fire. It would not take very long to warm up one side and then turn around and get the other side cooked. Then the next kid in line would bump into position to take a turn at stealing the warmth. Just about as soon as we were sufficiently warm our dad would notice us absorbing all the heat.
With his stern voice we would chase us away from standing half dressed in front of the fire. He would order us to get on our clothes and get ready to go outside. We were reluctant to readily leave the warmth to return to our seemingly frigid rooms and scramble to retrieve room temperature clothing and struggle into it. It felt like by the time we finally got dressed all the heat we had captured would be evaporated and returning to the fireplace would not provide warmth next to our skin. Fireplaces seemed useless to clothed kids. But my dad’s cajoling worked since we did get dressed and move away from the fireplace.
Before the next heating season, the fireplace was supplemented by a kerosene stove at the end of the hallway that provided heat to the bedrooms. The fireplace fell into disuse and was only used to provide atmosphere, which was rarely called for. For a time, we kids, out of habit, would crowd around the heater like it was the fireplace. It was not the same. A kerosene stove does not radiate heat out, but rather heats the air which is fan feed into the house. It did not seem efficient to us. So before long, we abandoned our habit of crowding around the heat source in the morning and just routinely got dressed in the coldness of our bedrooms. I much preferred the flare of an open fire.