Whenever my kids complain about having to go to school in the snow, I tell my story about growing up in the snow belt of New York.
Upstate New York is not for sissies. Snow is measured in feet there. I went to school at a university that prides itself on being in one of the top cities for snowfall every year. We have several pictures of my dad shoveling snow with the piles above his head. And in Upstate New York, we rarely, if ever, had a snow day in elementary or high school.
Rare occasion: school closing
That reputation must be what my mother relied on one morning when she bundled me up and sent me off to walk to school. I got to the school and it was locked tight. I walked around and knocked on the window of the school secretary’s office. She came to the door and said to go home because it was a snow day.
So I hold the dubious distinction of being one of the few kids whose parents sent them to school on a snow day. I couldn’t really blame my mom, since snow days were so rare back then. Now that I have children, however, it seems like many mornings during the winter, I am glued to the TV’s school closings scrawl. Every text is immediately reviewed to see whether it’s a delay or a closing.
I don’t know who is happier when school closes – me or my kids.
Don’t make me drive in the snow
When I was younger, I was a pretty fearless winter driver. You have to be to survive in the snow belt. I drove home from a college break in heavy snow at night – I drove slowly and carefully, and got there safely. When I worked in Fremont, I never missed work for weather. And even when I lived in the south, I commuted just fine with the exception of the Blizzard of 1993.
Now, I hate driving in the snow.
Part of it might be getting older and not wanting to deal with it. Part of it might be the way streets are cleared in Findlay. Many times my street was not cleared and was made passable only by trucks tamping down the snow. Part of it might be other motorists who seem to believe that speeding and tailgating are acceptable, even with poor road conditions.
Either way, I look forward to peeking out my front window after an overnight snowfall to see what the street looks like. I can tell based on the condition of my street if there is a delay or closing. I’ve been wrong a handful of times in nine years but, more often than not, I am right even before the text comes to my phone.
No one can predict what this winter will bring. I hate snow. But when it comes – and it will – we will hunker down inside and wait it out. I might be a Snow Belt Baby, but I am also a cautious driver who knows all it takes is a few flakes.