Something we never get enough of as children turns into something we don’t want to see as adults is snow. The idea of getting a “snow day” was always appealing to a youngster in the 1950’s. Looking back, when school was cancelled because of snow, it never seemed to get so bad that we couldn’t go out in it and play all day or until we were so cold and wet we couldn’t stand it anymore.
The picture above is of me and my sister before 1948. I can tell this by the black 1938 Ford in the background. This was the family car until my Dad bought a new one in 1948 and it was light gray. You don’t see snowmen this big anymore around here and there are two reasons for this. First, we don’t have “good snow” anymore. By this I mean that in days gone by, the snow packed better. Second, since my sister and I were both little, we had to have help building two snowmen this big. My Dad or Granddad had to have helped, which they always did willingly. It seems like everybody is so busy these days that helping their children build a snowman is put on the back burner.
We had a sled back then. It was a Flexible Flyer and was appropriately named. This was before all the new-fangled devices were invented that propelled you down any incline available. The earliest devices I can remember were some kids using trash can lids with the handle torn off. We always went to the City Park by the cannon. My mother was never very athletic, but she attempted to go down the hill with me one time and thought we were going in the water. She stuck her leg out to stop the speeding sled and proceeded to get it run over, causing her to get a sprained ankle. She never went again.
As recently as the late 1990’s, when both my boys were in high school, I had the greatest sledding experience of my life. I’ll never forget it. It was a Tuesday evening and a full moon was out. Except for one other man about my age, we were the only ones on the hill by the cannon. The snow was packed just right and a trip down the hill propelled you enough so that we went parallel to the water and half-way up the hill a ways down. When we finally got off, we only had about six steps to be at the top of the hill again. We went back and forth all evening. I still don’t know why that place wasn’t really crowded that night.
As time has gone on, more caution is taken with school buses traveling the back roads and being responsible for around 12,000 students every day. There is so much more traffic on the road that it is probably good for the safety of the children to call for a snow day rather than take chances. Times haven’t changed for the children though. They get excited at the first flake and the thought of no school, but have no trouble getting around in it when it is a foot deep. When my boys were in school and had a snow day, they walked the sled down to City Park even though it was farther than Wi-Hi.