Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I know, I know . . . it 's a subject that's been on every one's mind right now. Love it or hate it, we all have to deal with it. 
I hate to drive in the snow. Let me state that again.
I. Hate. To. Drive. In. The. Snow. 
Winter was so much easier when I was a kid, even though it always seemed like there was a foot of snow on the ground and I was always shovelling it. My dad deemed it my job to shovel the walk, but I really didn't mind. In my memory bank the sky was always blue and the snow would sparkle where the sun hit it. I could get it done in an hour while singing my favorite Beatles songs at the top of my lungs, then go inside and have hot chocolate. 
I don't remember very many school snow days. My sister and I lived a block away. Principal Neudecker would never close the school because he said that he knew that at least we'd be there. Mom would make us wear 24 layers of clothes for that trek of one block. 
Now back in the day, girls couldn't wear pants to school unless there was a blizzard of avalanche-like proportions. Therefore, dressing for school in the winter involved 2 pairs of tights, wool socks, boots, a wool skirt and a sweater or two. Kept you warm, but you really had to plan ahead if you had to pee.
I was in first grade and recess was about 10 minutes away when I realized that I had to go. Now.
I don't remember the teacher's name. She was one of the younger ones and slightly overwhelmed, so when I raised my hand and asked politely to be excused, she gave me a whithering look and said (and this is something that most right-thinking adults would never say to a 6-year-old), "Can't you wait? It's almost recess."
I thought about it for a minute, decided that I just couldn't, and let it fly. The pee ran down the sides of my chair and puddled on the floor underneath. One by one my classmates started noticing, resulting in a lot of pointing and giggling. I just sat there serenely with my hands folded, looking everywhere else - the ceiling, the portrait of Abe on the wall, the window - until the teacher finally grabbed me by the arm and hauled me out the door. 
After a hurried conference with Mr. Neudecker, it was decided that since it was a sunny day the only way to sufficiently dry me off was to stand me in the hallway with my skirt flipped up and my butt facing the window. It was a sound idea in theory and I was all for it, until the recess bell rang. The entire school began filing out the door on either side of me and the sound of their laughter rang off the linoleum floor. 
I dried during recess and went back to my seat. Things were fine until I got home and Mom said, "How was your day?" When I told her her head exploded. We put on our coats, she grabbed my arm and we marched right back up to the school. I wasn't allowed inside Mr. Neudecker's office during their little talk, but the yelling was impressive. Mom stormed out the office, grabbed my arm and said, "Come on."
She must have scared the living crap out of everyone because the rest of the year was pure hell. The teacher would ask me in class every 5 minutes if I had to go, Mr. Neudecker would stop me in the hall and ask if I had to go, the other kids would ask me if I had to go while backing up slowly. It was enough to make a kid seize up.
There really is no point to this story, except that it makes me cringe when I read a news story that states the only way to stay warm in the winter is to dress in layers. 
It really works. Absolutely.
Just be sure to plan ahead.  


Doggie said...

School buses cause snow days. Schools without them never get off. Why is that?

Valerie Pennington said...

The school I attended actually HAD a couple of buses - we had a lot of farms in the school district and the country kids rode the buses. Maybe the buses just didn't run when the weather got bad?
I don't remember.