Friday, December 22, 2017

Snow Day Memories

We’ve been receiving dire warnings about the weather since yesterday. When I woke up this morning and checked the news, many of the school systems in the northern portion of Massachusetts had already canceled school.

I don’t think much will happen here in our parts – a sprinkling of snow, maybe rain.

          It was pretty magical, though, to be able to go on the internet and there were the cancellations. Anyone who, like me, was a teacher twenty years ago remembers a very different scenario.

          There was no internet to speak of and no robo-calls from the school department. All we had were the local radio stations. When the TV stations began providing a running crawl across the bottom of the screen, it was a major breakthrough.

          I usually woke up at 5:30, then 5:00 (long before any local news hit the TV channels) when I taught high school and was at my desk by 6:45. As a person who needs to know that everything was in place, including my brain, I was never one of those teachers who could breeze in 5 minutes ahead of the kids. Plus, I often had kids swinging by my room shortly after 7:00.

          Since every moment before I left was choreographed with not a moment to spare, I’d sit by the radio with wet hair, chugging my granola, listening and hoping for those thrilling words.

          There was an assortment of outcomes:

  1. I’d hear at the last minute that yes, school was in session, and rush to school to find attendance so low it cancelled out the lesson I’d planned.
  2. The announcement wouldn’t come before I left and I’d arrive at school to find the parking lot empty and the school closed.
  3. I’d go to bed as it was snowing, convinced we’d have a day off, lollygag the next morning only to learn the superintendent decided to show how tough he was, and I’d have to rush to school and find low attendance again.
  4. The best/worst was when my hair was dry, my make-up on, my briefcase in my hand, and one last session with the radio sent me back to my sweatpants, a big cup of tea, and the morning TV shows.

Of course the very best moment was the first snowfall after I retired and I could roll over in bed.



  1. The only compensation the schools here make is if it's lower than minus 20 recess is inside. It's currently 15, been snowing for 9 or more hours, and supposed to put down another foot by tomorrow. I haven't seen my lawn since early Nov, and won't again till late April or even May. Wish it was just a memory here.

  2. Teacher's dedication and hard work is sadly under-recognised. And paid.
    Snow days are very, very rare here. One or two schools affected one or two days a year?

  3. I had the same experience when I taught but I didn't go "that " early. Yes, I had the lost puppies showing up in my room at 7. they'd been dropped off early and my room was a safe place to hang out. Yes, I've been retired 20 years. You bring back some good memories.

    1. "Lost puppies." Perfect way to describe those before-school visitors, Red.

  4. We had heatwave days instead of snow days. If the temperature climbed above 100, kids were allowed to leave school early if they wanted. Most did of course and headed to the beach and in later years to the swimming pool. If we had successive over 100 days, lunchtime became hometime.

    1. We had snow days when I was a child living outside of Washington, D.C., but in those days before air conditioning in schools, I also remember days so hot my arm stuck to the paper on my desk.

  5. A tribute to your dedication all those years. And now the payoff, just rolling over and pulling up the covers. Yay! :-)

  6. snow down here is an immediate holiday it is so rare.

  7. Of those possible scenarios, the second one seems like the worst! I never had snow days as a kid, so this is a luxury alien to me.


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