Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Indiana Has Wimpy Schools*
Other than that we little Michigan children stood outside during cold advisories with snow suits (not the cool kind - the Michelin Man kind) three pairs of mittens, a hat, ear muffs, two pairs of socks and moon boots and we waited for that bus to come. Never mind the radio announcements that said, "Make sure none of your skin is exposed to the air." Never mind the warnings to not allow pet outside for more time than is necessary. No, no. We stood outside and we waited for the bus. When it snowed. We stood outside and we waited for the bus. When it hailed. We stood outside and we waited for the bus. When it rain that winter rain that's just slightly warmer than sleet. We stood outside and we waited for the bus. When we had pneumonia. When we had hypothermia. When our fingers turned purple (under the three pairs of mittens). When our freshly showered hair froze. We always waited for the bus.
Not to say that we never had a snow day. No, we always had tons of snow days. But often it was because the superintendent's four-wheel drive pick-up got stuck on Main Street on his way into the office. Another thing was, snow days weren't that great in Michigan. Why? Because the school didn't call off until they were absolutely sure that it was beyond the human physical powers to attend school. So, by the time all resources had been exhausted, the Michigan mothers had gotten their children out of bed, and had dressed them in all their cold-weather gear, and had packed their lunches, and had sent them to stand at the end of the driveway to wait for the bus. There was no sleeping in. There was no lounging under flannel sheets and down blankets.
To make matters worse, by the time school was called off, the Michigan moms were so annoyed that their kids would be bouncing off the walls all day, that she would immediately assign them "spring-cleaning" tasks (don't ask me how you can be spring-cleaning when it's clearly not yet spring). The favored task in our house (our mother's favored task, not ours) was to take all the things out of the cupboards and wash them down with Murphy's Oil while listening to "Listen to the Missus" (a local radio show that mostly featured cleaning tips and recipes). Not exactly watching cartoons and snugly with a puppy by a fire drinking cocoa, and eating cookies. That's what snow days in Michigan are like.
So, I have moved 50-odd miles south of Michigan. I thought, "Fort Wayne couldn't possibly feel that differently from Michigan." I was so wrong. Last night I was watching a little TV while I was waiting for Brian to get home. Now, I am willing to admit it's really cold out. It's almost miserable. But the schools in this area have been closed all week (so far) due to cold weather (there's only about an inch of snow total), and they close the night before! This is very strange for me. When I grew up, I would go downstairs and tell my mom that I didn't want to go to school because I felt sick, and my mom would say, "Well, take a shower and get dressed and see if you don't feel better." I knew even then - that she was trying to trick me and even if I still felt gross after showering and getting dressed (after which I normally felt even worse than when I woke) I would still go to school on the principle that I had spent the last half an hour getting ready to go and if I didn't go I would have just wasted precious sleeping time getting cold and wet. That's why calling off school the night before is so foreign to me. It would be like calling in sick before you go to bed. They don't know what it's going to feel like in the morning. It could be a balmy 52 degrees in the morning. Even if the diesel has frozen in the buses, I would still get up and shower and get dressed. Just in case it thawed.
Yes, Indiana has wimpy schools. But I'm probably just jealous. I probably am just wishing wistfully that I were 6 again, or a teacher and living in Indiana.
*Post may contain slight exaggeration