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White Death is Nigh

January 5, 2014

blizzardI know I’ve mentioned this in passing a few times before, but on the eve of the impending Snowpocalypse that invariably won’t happen but schools are cancelling already anyway, I wanted to talk about that one time when I was a kid and I walked to school amidst a blizzard.

Yes, the world is full of stories about how we walked uphill both ways in the snow barefoot… yadda yadda yadda. But seriously, when I was a kid, snow days were rare.  So was suing people for every little thing that didn’t go right in your life.  Which ironically now benefits me, since I work for lawyers…but I digress.

Anyhoo, in the past few days, we’ve been told to expect 10 inches of snow to now just maybe an inch.  We’ve had winter storm warnings downgraded to watches downgraded to advisories.  There isn’t a gallon of milk or loaf of bread to be found within 200 miles.  Oh, and it’s going to be fucking cold.  Not just cold.  Fucking cold.  Colder than it has ever been in 20 years.

I am so overloaded on weather information at this point that I may just throat punch the next person I hear talking about impending weather doom.  And I don’t even watch the fucking news.  As of this writing, my city is under a winter weather advisory.  We may get 1 to 2 inches of snow.  The high temp is predicted to be 12 degrees, with a wind chill of -25 degrees.    The city schools have cancelled classes for tomorrow  (because it’s going to be cold) and I’m sure the county schools will follow suit, but not until the bitter last minute tomorrow morning, leaving parents scrambling for child care alternatives because for some of us, life goes on regardless of the weather.  Swear to God, the people in Fargo, North Dakota are laughing their asses off at us.

Which brings me to January 1978.  Ohio had a blizzard. A real, honest to God blizzard.  Fifty-one people died. And my grandma sent me to school amidst that blizzard.  I know we had a TV in 1978 because I used to watch Looney Tunes on Saturday, so I think she probably knew we were having a blizzard.  And back in the day, I was an afternoon Kindergartner who didn’t have to report until noon.  Common sense would tell me that at some point between waking up in the morning and noon, that my grandma would have been aware that we were having a blizzard.  Sometime along the morning, someone might have mentioned that school was cancelled.

Nevertheless, she sent me upon my way and I walked 2 blocks to Western Elementary.  I remember that some nice soul had shoveled a path on the sidewalk and that on either side of me, the snow was taller than I was.   When I reached the doors of Western Elementary, they were locked.  In the mere 4 months I had been attending school, this had never happened to me.  So being the good kid I was, I sat on the steps of the school and waited for someone to come and let me in.

I’m not really sure how long I waited there before I left.  I was 6.  It felt like hours, but maybe it was only minutes.  I distinctly remember sitting on the steps of the school waiting for someone to come and unlock the door to let me in.  At some point, I decided no one was coming, so I walked back home – in the middle of a blizzard – only to be confronted by my grandma about why I wasn’t in school.  I vaguely remember a conversation about how I should walk back to school just to make sure the doors were really locked…

It’s a wonder the kids raised in the 70’s and 80’s are even still alive to procreate.  I very well could have been death number fifty-two walking to school in the middle of a blizzard.  But I survived that, as well as mercury laden toys and asbestos filled buildings to become a semi-productive citizen in 2014.  Evidently though, the few of us who made it through those horrific times to become the decision makers in the community were so scarred that we have now turned into a bunch of panty-waisted sissies who can’t tolerate a little snow and/or cold.

In the meantime, I’m kicking myself in the ass for choosing to major in psychology instead of education.  What the hell was I thinking?

P.S. Every school in the county is now closed, except for my children’s’ school. Apparently our superintendent is older than dirt or immune from peer pressure.  Or a procrastinator.



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