January 23, 2013

Remember the little brother in the movie Christmas Story?  Remember how he could barely move once he was bundled from head to toe?  I'm seeing plenty of little ones trudging up my street on their way to school this week looking just as wrapped and stuffed into snowsuits as little Randy. 

Randy: I can't put my arms down! 
Mother: Well... put your arms down when you get to school. 

Yesterday I was reminiscing about my dramatic interpretations of sweet little Heidi and her Alps climbing adventures on my way to school during the winter, clambering over the mounds of snow along the curbs.  Why walk on a shoveled sidewalk when you can face the perils of the treacherous South Dakota alpine snowdrifts?!   

There was a definite ‘down-side’ to my winter adventures, however.  I don’t know what the rules were at your elementary school, but in my school district girls were not allowed to wear pants in school until in the 1970’s, hence my elementary and junior high years were spent clad in skirts.  As you can see from the picture outside my house I am sporting my nifty blue parka and white furry earmuffs, plus a pair of winter pants and the dreaded snow boots.  The snow boots caused a lot of grief—you dressed in the morning, and then pulled on a pair of warm winter pants.  Then warm socks and your shoes.  Then over your shoes went a plastic bag to keep melting snow from seeping into your shoes and socks.  And finally, on went the rubber boots—tugging, tugging, tugging to get them to slide over your shoes and then secure the top with an elastic band that looped around a single rubber button.  Then wend your way to school (through the Alps!), guaranteeing that at least several inches of snow made its way into the boots, where it proceeded to melt and get your socks all damp. 

Arriving at school, the boys merrily hung their coats on the hooks in the hallway, while we girls sat down and tugged off our boots, with our shoes usually sliding out in the process.  Then we had to wiggle out of our winter pants and put our damp socks/shoes back on, all the while making sure we weren’t sitting in puddles of water on the floor and that our skirts were preserving our dignity.  School would then commence, and by the time your socks were starting to feel slightly less damp, it was morning recess time, where you started the whole process again.  Morning recess was followed by lunch, and then afternoon recess, and then, finally, the trek back home over all the snow banks, each time requiring the whole boots on/boots off routine.  It was quite the ordeal back then, but now it is just another story in my arsenal when I need to remind my children how much harder I had it than they ever did! 

And if you happen to go for a walk today (in warm, comfy, modern snow  boots!) here’s a lovely poem by Elinor Wylie to speed you on your way.  
Velvet Shoes
Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.
I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow’s milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.
We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.
We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.

Have a wonderful day! 

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