Memory Lane: A Whopper of a Snow Day

Child walking through deep snow Stock Photo - Alamy

I may have told this story once before; but what with today’s white sky and cold temperature, I think I’ll tell it again.

Rewind to 1966. It’s snowing like crazy when we get up in the morning, but they haven’t shut the schools and off we had to go–my brother, our friend Gary from next door, and me. Off to the bus stop, with the snow coming down like gangbusters. And after waiting half an hour, it became obvious to us that the bus wasn’t running that day.

“Well, let’s walk!” I said. Some two miles to our high school, and now it was snowing even more heavily. But we were young, we liked the challenge–and in just an hour and a half, we made it to the school.

Hardly anyone was there: maybe a quarter of the staff and a few dozen of the student body. My home room was Mrs. Wilcox’s chemistry lab, one of the few classrooms that was open. Mrs. Wilcox had put up a dart board for the half a dozen students who were there. That was a treat! We played darts while Mrs. Wilcox read a novel.

By and by the principal came in and sent everybody home. The snow was deeper now, but we didn’t mind. Up to our knees and still coming down. Two hours to get home. And after lunch we went back out again, all the way down to Tommy’s Pond to help other kids clear the snow off the pond for ice skating–which was what we and a lot of other townspeople did that evening.

It sort of went without saying that school would be closed the next day, too. So we went to the Y, which was mysteriously open–I guess so Mr. Williams could smoke his pipe in peace–and shot pool for a while in the adults’ lounge; and then back to Gary’s basement for a game of cards.

What fun that was, all of it! My father went ice-skating that night: couldn’t get the car out, our dead-end street was among the last to be plowed. Lots and lots of sledding at the pond, with a fire in a metal drum so you could warm your hands.

I wonder if they have snow days in Heaven. Betcha they do.

8 comments on “Memory Lane: A Whopper of a Snow Day

  1. Having previously lived in places known for snowfall, I have been through more than a few snow days and even have had several in Arizona. It’s always fun, as long as you are stocked up on food and the house stays warm.

  2. I grew up in southern California, so we had no snow days. Sometimes a store nearby would hire a truck to fill with snow and dump it onto their parking lot. Using socks for mittens, we kids would go tearing into that snow– throwing snowballs, sliding down on cafeteria trays or without, stuffing snow down our shirts, tunneling into the pile. All the while, the snow was rapidly melting, and we dreamed of what would never happen– snow falling from the sky.

    1. I grew up in southern California as well. The San Bernardino Mountains were only a couple of hours away where there was plenty of snow in the winter. My girlfriend and I ditched school one day and came back for 7th period with plenty of snow for snowballs!

  3. I remember lots of big snows, not always school snow days, though. One that sticks in my memory was at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY. It had been a beautiful spring day, and in the evening we were entertaining a visiting inspection team at the Officers’ Club. After a while, some people were about to leave, and they let out a shout — they could hardly get the outside doors open because a blizzard had blown in and the drifts were blocking us in. Seriously. And all of us were in our spring uniforms. Besides, the snow was rapidly covering our cars. So we hunkered down for the night, breaking into — I mean gently nudging open the doors to — the Club’s food supplies (the liquid supplies were already on display, ahem) to sustain ourselves. The men were gallant enough to give the female officers first dibs on any couches or put-together chairs to sleep on, and everyone else used table linens to make beds on the floor.

    In the morning, some of my troops (I was a squadron commander then) managed to slog to the O Club to bring us winter gear and dig us out. They thought it was a great lark. But it was a couple of days before we could get all the cars out of the drifts. Fortunately, snow tended not to last more than a few days in Cheyenne — not because the weather warmed up but because the high winds usually blew most of the snow into Nebraska after a while. Ah, memories….

    1. I have no problem believing that could happen. The wind in Cheyenne is epic and weather can be unpredictable anywhere on the Front Range.

    2. Wow. We can’t manage snowstorms like that here in New Jersey. But that doesn’t stop people from panicking over an inch or two of snow.

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