Well, *I* used to have to walk ten *miles* to school through five-foot *snowdrifts*.

Okay, not exactly. When I walked by Haisley at 0-dark-thirty this morning, I was a little shocked to see several somewhat scantily clad middle school girls standing there freezing outside a darkened, locked school, waiting for a bus that didn’t seem to be coming. (A bus picks up Forsythe Middle School students at Haisley every morning.) I hadn’t heard that the schools were closed but, these days, I only have a passing interest in whether or not the schools are open. At about minus 10 Fahrenheit with relatively clear roads, it just didn’t seem bad enough to cancel school and I was plenty warm walking. Of course, the outfit I was wearing made me look like a purple version of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Actually, until 7th grade, I just walked across the street to Lincoln School. Junior and senior high school were nine blocks away, if I’m counting right. And I think I am. I swear I can remember every step of that journey and lots of the houses along the way. Five blocks down Superior to Easterday, where I’d usually meet up with Helen and whoever else. Then one block over to Johnston and around three more long blocks along Johnston, crossing the canal over the Johnston Street bridge. It’s a quick little walk for me today but it often seemed to take eons back then, especially if I was freezing to death.

I really can’t remember even one day that school was ever canceled up there in the yoop. Minus 32 Fahrenheit? Three feet of new snow? Three inches of ice? No problem. We trudged (or slid or whatever) through it all. Was I dressed like the Pillsbury Doughboy? Heck no! Short skirts, nylon stockings, and frostbitten knees were the vogue. Hats and scarfs and things? Those would ruin our hair! Boots? Fashion equals frozen toes. And woe to anyone who forgot to carry their shoes to school with them. Were we smart enough to leave an extra pair of shoes in our lockers? I doubt it.

I would never think to question the infinite wisdom of the Planet Ann Arbor Public School District, but I couldn’t figure out why they closed the schools. Eleanor at the bank shed some light on the subject. Half of the school buses would not start this morning. When I was a kid, the only kids who were bused to school were the kids who lived out in the country. There were definitely days when they didn’t make it to school. The rest of us just kept on trudging (or sliding or…).

The girls in front of Haisley this morning were complaining that no one had notified them. I knew that the news was likely published on the district website and every radio station in town but I commiserated with them anyway. They were just kids. They were cold but they were dressed the way lots of teenage girls dress. I could feel their pain. I wondered where their parents were and why three sets of parents didn’t listen to the radio or check the internet. I wondered how far they had to walk and whether their houses were locked and if they had keys. Was there someone who could come and get them? A few of Mouse’s friends would occasionally call me when they needed a ride and couldn’t find a parent at that moment. I was always happy to pick them up. It does actually take a village, as much as I hate how trite that saying has become. But the kids this morning said they were okay. They had cell phones. My kids didn’t have cell phones in middle school. I think I got *my* first cell phone when Lizard Breath was in middle school. If they hadn’t had them, there was one in my pocket they could’ve used. I told them to go get a cup of coffee and continued waddling toward home in true Purple Pillsbury Doughboy style.

So, whadidy’all wear to school when it was cold? Or even when it wasn’t? And what did your school district cancel school for?

5 Responses to “Well, *I* used to have to walk ten *miles* to school through five-foot *snowdrifts*.”

  1. Bob Says:

    When Bill and I were in school, we walked over a mile uphill to school both ways. Never wore a hat.
    See ya.

  2. Jay Says:

    I had some really stylish, probably wool, snow pants to wear over tights and under the skirts we had to wear to school in elementary school I really disliked the pants and would walk around the corner on Washington (from Crest) and take them off.

    for the record, just under 1 mile to Elementary School, each way, and we came home at lunch.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    I did that when The Comm made me wear those stupid old red rubbers over my shoes (elementary school). I’d go out the front door and stash them under the porch.

    And the Ann Arbor Public Schools are closed for the second day in a row! It is zero today. Ten degrees warmer. I sense somebody in the admin wants a little vacation. If I were still a parent of a students there, I would be pissed!

  4. jane Says:

    I talked to a friend at work this morning who lives in the Farmington Hills school district. They were open yesterday, but closed today. Apparently 11 kids went to the hospital for frost bite yesterday – therefore, closed today. A few thoughts – fashion, schmasion – when it’s 10 below the kids need to dress warmly. And since when do you go to the hospital for frost bite? Put warm hands on it, perhaps a warm (not hot) compress, et voila! — you don’t get the day off of school in the ER.

    I’m feeling decidedly uncharitable about this topic for some reason. I’ll just sign off now.

  5. Pooh Says:

    Harry got chewed out by the school nurse at PI HI (Pioneer HS) for walking to work w/o a hat in cold weather. He almost frostbit his ears. Her comment was along the lines of “I see lots of students who are dumb enough not to wear a hat, but teachers should know better.” He walked the mile and a half when he worked at PI HI, Jay and I walked it when went there, which did not coincide w/ Harry’s time there. Jane went to Huron, since we’d move from Crest by then. Did you walk or take the bus, Jane?

    By High School, I think we were smart enough to dress for the weather, (and probably not cool enough to worry about what our hair looked like.) And we could wear pants to school by then. But it was plenty cold some of the time! Slauson Junior High was a block from home (or two, if you walked the other side of the street.) Elementary school – I remember sliding across the natural ice rink that formed in Waterworks Park -between 8th and 7th Streets, near the athletic fields behind Slauson. Mom, I’m sorry for all the holes I put in the knees of my tights when I fell on that sliding place. Jay remembers wearing snow pants, but some times we must not have worn them. Or maybe Mom got smart after she had to darn my tights.