Going to sleep at night and hearing someone say; "It's supposed to start snowing tonight and keep up all day."

My bed was right next to the window and no matter how tired I was I had one eye open watching for the first flake to fall. *....blip. There it was! And I would now open both eyes to watch for the rest of it. Those days there was nothing like a *Snow Day*. The teachers almost always lived in the town they taught in. Worse comes to worse, they could walk in to school. Just like the pupils had to.

Waking up to drifts of snow all over didn't mean that you had the day off. It did mean that you better find your boots, the ones you didn't wear until it snowed. If you were lucky your mother had put them away in the attic and with even more luck they may still fit!-(Considering that Mom always bought shoes two sizes too big and boots maybe even three sizes too big.)

The snap over buckles may be a bit on the rusty side but they would eventually close. Put on the *Long Johns*-----even if you were a girl. You would take them off when you got to school and compare your legs for blueness to the other girls'.

Two sweaters and a winter coat. One really thick knitted hat and a pair of earmuffs, the ensemble was completed with a ten foot long hand knitted scarf and a pair of mittens over a pair of gloves. Some winter coats came with "Leggings" which were as thick as the coat and harder to remove than *Long Johns*. Mom always tucked the leggings or long johns into the boots. If the snow was deep enough, it would slop into the boots and your feet would freeze. If you put them OUT side the boots the snow would crawl up your ankles and do the same thing. Two pair of thick socks might slow it down or possibly they would get so wet that you couldn't pick up your feet. Under all this was your school clothes. Girls wore dresses so we froze much faster than the boys. All this was just to walk less than the one block I lived from school. North Pole explorations weren't as prepared as I was.

When you got to school after walking in the middle of the street because there were no cars out and the (I Swear) horse-drawn wooden plow hadn't come down the street yet, You had to unpeel like an onion to sit in the classroom. And if you were one of the lucky ones with a seat near the window in the back, you were asked to give weather reports on the progress of the snow. My last name started with a "V" so I was in prime time. Much pencil sharpening took place because the pencil sharpener was near the windows.

We went home for lunch.....and some of us didn't come back. I'm guessing it was because their Mommy couldn't get them unpeeled, fed and relayered in time to return. I was too close to make this work for me. If it continued to snow at three o'clock, the school doors opened to let a bunch of kids that looked like woolen turnips out into the storm. You had to be in fourth grade before the teachers wouldn't assist you in removing or replacing the layers of wool that Mom had wrapped you in.

Many times I would return from school with someone elses' hat or scarf. My Mom and Grandma would have conniption fits when that happened! "OH NO! You could catch bugs from someone! Never wear someone elses' hat or use their comb! You'll get BUGS!"

(Nope-----never did.)

Then it was Playclothes. Pants for girls still weren't really fashionable. But my Grandma could make me things that would prevent the frostbite that my girlfriends suffered. I had pants made from canvas lined with flannel! I was the envy of the girls and the scourge of the boys even with them wearing two pairs of pants. My Grandma and my Aunt Bette were knitters.

I had scarves and hats and mittens that filled three big drawers. We would all come out of the houses in the same minute. Woolen Turnips at play! Sleds were revived from the piles of lumber that covered them. Some of the sleds were not in any kind of running order and thats when the galvanized garbage can lids were put into play. As long as the handle was off, you could get those going as well as or sometimes better than a sled.

Between the snowstorm and the time of year making it dark by 4PM, we could stay out until almost 5:30pm. Those were special rules and only applied in snowstorms.

If we didn't have hills to slide down, we made them. Get a group of 10 kids together and watch and see how quickly a mountain of snow gets built in the school's front yard. There was always an attempt to build an igloo. That turned into a snow fort when the roof wouldn't stay up. We always claimed to have been building a fort in the first place because you couldn't throw many snowballs from an igloo. I have always wondered how many of this group went into politics?

When you got home and unwrapped and your completely snow frozen clothes were draped on the heat register in the dining room, (That was the biggest one and it was directly over the coal furnace.), you got fed something that was designed to thaw out your innards. If you could stay awake long enough to do homework you had earned a large cup of cocoa and several cookies.

When you finally went to bed, The last thing you would see would be the window and if all was perfect---it would still be snowing!

Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)

Swampetta has written other stories and poems for your enjoyment.

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The Loneliest Christmas

A Nickle Short

Sweet Dreams

Those Were The Days

A Heart Thing

December's Shoreline

Just A Simple Christmas

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