Horrors! Heard on the radio that some districts are doing away with snow days. Students will be home-schooled via the Internet on those days.
As a kid, hearing “ Medford: no school, all schools, all day,” was a life highlight. Never much for winter snow play – perhaps the occasional snowman or sled ride (We called it coasting) –I reveled in a day inside with my mother and Aunt Dot. We would play Flinch or Sorry while sipping cocoa and munching on cinnamon toast. As I got older, I’d bake: gingerbread, hot milk sponge cake, spice cake with frosting., and if I were feeling really ambitious –cream puffs.
Only once was I totally upset to have a snow day: I was in fifth grade, and in those years, students went home for lunch. But that year Medford went to single session for the months of January – March. I was very excited because I had a lunchbox – even though it was an ugly one like a workman’s; no TV, movie-themed lunchboxes then. But the prospect of unpacking that lunch box and eating at my desk, surrounded by a whole class doing the same thing, kept me awake the night before. Then, on that very first day of lunch in school, we had a snow day. I was distraught, but my mother had already packed my lunch, so I ate it at the kitchen table, probably by 9:30 in the morning!
One huge advantage of being a teacher is that almost always if the kids had a snow day, so did I. Overjoyed, they went out to shovel, make a snowman, ski or sled. I stayed inside and baked cookies, but at some point we would all be inside and play games. Confession: once when my eldest was home for a year after college, he was subbing, so this one day we both had snow days. We decided to play Trivial Pursuit, and he put a quiche in the oven and asked, “Want a beer?” I looked at the clock and said, “I can’t have a beer. It’s not even ten o’clock yet.” “Are you an adult?” he asked. “Ya,” I said. “Then you can have a beer.”
In high school, when a winter storm was predicted, I developed the habit of sleeping with my bedroom shade raised so I could keep checking to see if the snow had started. I still do this. When I was teaching, we in the faculty room even had a “Snow Day Dance” we performed, hoping it would bring on a Snow Day. Some of the thrill is gone now that I don’t have kids at home and don’t sub every day, but there is still that wonderful feeling of freedom when school is closed for the day. It means there is enough snow that I can’ t keep appointments or go to meetings, and usually I don’t even venture forth. I sit in my warm house watching the beauty of the snow falling and remembering snow days of the past.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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