Snow Days Not What They Used to Be

Snow days not being what they used to be, I feel sorry for kids these days. For one thing, the news that school’s out comes too easily.

“I just check my email,” my fourth-grade granddaughter told me.

That’s not how it was when I was a kid. When we woke to a world quieted and brightened by snow, my brothers and I huddled around the big radio cabinet in our kitchen with the dial turned precisely to 600 AM, WTAC. Wrapped in blankets, we’d wait through news about the Vietnam War and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Michigan Wolverines basketball game and weather. And finally came the school closings.

We wished as hard as we could as the radio announcer listed closed schools.

“Atherton,” he’d say, and “Carmen-Ainsworth and Beecher and Davidson.”

We’d hear papers rustling, and he’d call Fenton and Flushing and Genesee and Clio. When he made Clio sound like a period at the end of the list, we’d groan.

But in the background, we’d hear the station phone ring.

“And this just in,” he’d say.

Bendle, I’d think, let it be Bendle.

And when it was, the world seemed to pause. No one had plans for us, not our teachers, not our parents. So we made snow angels and sledded down the hill in Kearsley Park and made a little money shoveling driveways. We drank hot chocolate and read books.

Now the most my grandchildren can hope for is a non-traditional instruction day. They can stay in their pajamas, if they’d like, and drink hot chocolate. But they’re in front of the computer on Zoom or bent over paper packets of math and reading their teachers sent home the evening before, in hopes of snow.

This is why, on wintery days of bluster and ice, I feel sorry for kids these days.

Until, I remember that, no matter how much it snows, school days won’t be tacked onto those fair weather days in June.

One Reply to “Snow Days Not What They Used to Be”

  1. Snow days were not a thing for me, growing up in Florida. But as a school employee in Jackson, MS, we occasionally got them–back before virtual came along. There is something totally other earthly about a snow day – the clear gray light off the snowy landscape, the sense that time is suspended, the certainty that the little snowwoman with her camellia accessories I set up on my front steps is the best one ever. Magic. Savor it.


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