December 12, 2008

Ice age coming ... and we still have school

Ice age is coming ... and we still have school

"Our superintendent is from Alaska. That's why." That was the bitter complaint, the rumor that spread on the bus as it rolled over icy, snow-covered roads.

When I was a kid, all the other schools got more snow days than us. It never seemed fair.

The hope for a snow day usually began when I'd come downstairs in the morning and hear the radio. That sound meant that my mother was listening for school closings. We kids would gather at the kitchen table while my mother spooned out bowls of hot oatmeal with canned peaches floating in it.

When the announcer would say, "These schools closed," my mother would turn the little nob to make the sound louder, and I'd put down my spoon to cross my fingers. How cruel it would be when our school didn't make the list.

We'd grumble as we put on boots, coats, and mittens, grabbing out lunches and books. (No one carried backpacks in those days: they hadn't been invented yet.) Any other day, we might have gone cheerfully out to wait for the bus, maybe even looked forward to seeing our friends, but the knowledge that OTHER KIDS had the day off, that OTHER KIDS were happily climbing back into bed or getting out their sleds or getting dressed to go build snowforts -- well, that was hard to take.

Of course, my kids' generation is more pro-active than mine. They have rituals around the wish for a snow day. When a snowstorm is predicted, they wear their pajamas inside out and backwards. This is supposed to guarantee a snow day. Sometimes it works, of course. We do get an awful lot of snow here.

But other times, like today, it doesn't. "It's because not enough kids wore their clothes inside out," Shaggy Hair Boy complained as I picked him after school. "EVERYONE BUT US had a snow day today."

The district has a new superintendent, as the other one retired years ago, but the rumor has not changed since my childhood: "It's because the superintendent is from Alaska. That's why."

The title of this post was With-a-Why's away message today.


Songbird said...

No school here. Also no electricity, most places!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I grew up in Minnesota. During one particularly bad snowstorm, they gave up announcing schools that were closed and just announced that my school -- and ONLY my school -- was open and starting on time. We had a grumble or two about that... then we went to get on the bus, which was late.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

And then there were us schools in Saskatchewan, always hearing rumours that American (and "back East") schools had something mythical called "Snow Days." Seriously, it took dangerous, dangerous windchills to cancel school, and it happened very rarely. And I grumbled about it all the time.

(The funny thing is that, in the first year of my Master's degree, the University of Regina had its first two snow days EVER, both in the same late winter, and both thanks to record-breaking blizzards. And, in both cases, they waited until mid-day to cancel classes and send us all home, driving through the dangerous blizzards.)

I will stop complaining now, because I live in Victoria, where we've had three snowflakes all year.

Rev Dr Mom said...

When I was in third grade we moved from North Carolina to West Virginia, where there was more snow than we had ever seen or imagined. But in the couple of years we lived there, the only snow days we ever got were when it was well below zero and the buses wouldn't start.

Some of my best memories come from a couple of years later when we were living in Virginia, and at least as I remember it, we had about two weeks off school b/c it kept snowing and snowing and snowing. We had such fun.

The Kid is longing for snow days this year b/c seniors don't have to make them up at the end of the year like everyone else!

BlackenedBoy said...

I hate you and I wish I lived there. It looks so nice.

In Native State, Beautiful County's schools typically closed for no less than at least six inches of snow, and often we still went to school with that on the ground.

One year we didn't have a single snow day and it drove me absolutely crazy.

Here, we've yet to get a significant snowfall (nothing that's stayed on the ground for more than a few hours), a depressing fact of winter in the South.

If it's going to be this cold, it might as well snow!

The funny thing is that in February of 2004, when we were preparing to leave Native State, we weren't sure where we'd get sent. We knew we were heading either to Deep South State, New England State, Northern State, or Ugly State.

If we'd gone to Northern State (which was a real possibility), we very well could have wound up in Snowstorm City.

Kait said...

LOL, our rumor was that the superintendent was from Michigan. Coincidentally, my uni president actually *was* from Michigan.

Tall Kate said...

I remember those days, too! I grew up in an eastern suburb of "Camera City" . . . and boy oh boy, did we get a lot of snow. Never as many snow days as we wanted, though, of course!

Jodie said...

oddly enough, one of my most delicious memories of college was one early morning walking a 1/2 mile through a foot of fresh powder on my way to an organic chemistry lab.

It was so quiet and peaceful.

It was still snowing and morning was just breaking. Most classes eventually got canceled that day. But our lab started before college officials got organized enough.

For some reason, out of hundreds of morning walks to classes and labs and professor appointments, in the seven years I spent in college, that morning stands above all the rest.

Jane Dark said...

Now the district where I grew up is quick to call a snow day. But at least three times, when I was a student, they tried to hold school, and then ended up cancelling midway through the day -- and then sending those of us who lived in the further parts of the district on 6 hour bus rides. In the worst one, we left school around 12:30, and got off the bus at about quarter to 9.

BerryBird said...

Too funny, Jo(e). I attended school in a different yet nearby district, and we always felt OUR district never closed when all the others did. Furthermore, we had the exact same rumor of the Alaskan superintendent! It must be a common meme.

Incidentally, your district was at least delayed during this recent storm, whereas my old district got nothing. Old feeling of self-pity die hard, I guess :)

BerryBird said...

I am also wondering if With-a-Why is a fan of Radiohead?

jo(e) said...

Yes, those are Radiohead lyrics. With-a-Why is a fan.

It's fun to hear everyone's snow day stories.

I have to say, though, an hour delay ends up just being a pain for parents -- and it's just a tease for the kids who keep expecting to hear that school is closed.

Joy said...

Hi Jo(e), I haven't stopped by in awhile... Btw, I got a new job as a tutor assistant/ volunteer recruiter, at an elementary school.

When I was a kid and my mom was a teacher, she'd get the call there was no school, early in the morning. If we heard the phone ring, it was wooooonderful! The buses had a lot of rural routes, and that contributed to a higher number of snow days.

I live in a bigger city, different state now, and we hardly get snow days.

But this past Tuesday, we got a snow day (not to brag (but I am, none the less...opps). The snow and ice began in the early morning hours and was predicted to get worse (blowing snow and all, the plows wouldn't get to city streets off the main, bigger thorough ways until afternoon) before it got better.

Soooo, I woke at 7 am, found I could go back to sleep, so I did!

Here is hoping you get a snow day this winter. I'll even wear my jammies backwards to help!

Patti said...

We had school, too. But there was an accident with a school bus and a snowplow, so I think the super will be less consertative with snowdays now.