America's kids today are wussies, primarily because they are coddled, according to Amy Chua who wrote the very controversial and argumentative best way to raise children in her best seller "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". When I read the E-Mail my older son wrote about his son and the working of snow days and because of them getting to sleep in a couple of hours longer or all day depending on what the school declares is their decision on hours of closing. It made me think what would Amy do. Probably what I did between 1937 - 1948 when I was going to school in Pennsylvania.
In those days ( commonly called "the good old days" by people who didn't live through them ) bussing was very uncommon unless you live 10-15 miles away from school. There were no snow days! I remember as a grade schooler determining how deep the snow was by what goulashes by mother put by the front door - 2-3 inches, rubbers which fit over shoes; 3-4 inches, two buckle boots; 4- 6 inches, 4 or 6 buckle boots. Anything more than 6 inches you just waded through it and wore wet socks all day from the snow that got down in your boots.
To make matters worse there was not a cafeteria at school so you had to plow home at noon and then back to school for the afternoon session. When I think back it seems like we lived 8 miles from the school, but in actuality it was about 1 1/2 miles. most of it uphill, both ways, for you always took a different way home. As a grade schooler the greatest thing that could happen when it was snowing or snow was on the ground was for the high schoolers to have already gone to school ( they started 15 minutes before grade school ) that way they would have partially cleared a path as they marched to their classes. We had a bunch of older kids in my neighborhood who tramped down a path and made it easier for us little kids.
There were no 1-3 hour delays unless it was determined by your parents. Although a delay was nice, this was considered being late for class by the school, resulting by having to stay late and make up the time. Which option was better, I still reflect on now, and debate the up-side and down-side.
The other problem in those days with snow ( or cold ) was you really had to bundle-up. Down clothing had not been invented, and light weight, but warm material a thought for the future. So to prevent perma-frost from building up in the body you layered clothing. And unlike today where this is still the method of keeping the body from hyperthermia, but the clothing is light-weight and very warm, back then the material for clothing was heavy weight. The theory being the heavier it was, the warmer it would be. Wool was the material of choice. Of course the more wool garments you wore, the warmer you would be. The down side, though, was after wading a short distance in snow up to your knees, you would start to sweat ( girls would only perspire or gleem ) and worse of all itch, and with no way to satisfactory scratch through the many layers of clothing, it became a more wretched walk to school and more disconcerting the realization you would have to do it over on the way home. Think of Ralphie in the movie "Christmas Story" on clothing, and it will give you a clear, realistic view of the way we dressed. Most first period classes started a few minutes late to give us time for a thorough scratch.
High school was different, for now parents were weaning kids away from parental control to prepare them "for life's experience". So if you walked out of the house during a blizzard to go to school wearing a T shirt, they might admonish you and suggest something warmer, but let it up to your judgement as to what to wear. Snow boots were absolutely forbidden to be worn my high schoolers under penalty of being snow balled to death. There were never any reports, as I recall, of kids dying because of this.
With all the problems encountered because of the cold and snow, being hit by snow balls added to the weather hazards. It behooved a person to continue to swivel the neck ( much like fighter pilots do ) to watch for enemies coming from behind and always carry a snowball in your hand, preferably one that had partially melted then refroze into a iceball.
One thing I kind of liked back then were no weathermen ( weatherperson ) or as they are now called meteorologists (probably because TV has not invented them yet) to give detailed, comprehensive weather reports. If you wanted to know what was going on weatherwise you went outside and looked or turned on the radio and heard the announcer say rain, snow, warm, or some other one-word description, with about the same accuracy as they now have.
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