Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Snow and School

To my son Tommy,

In the beginning of the winter school season, just the threat of snow is enough to have a day off in Maryland. I am fairly sure it was at least one day this year that schools were closed and it was a beautiful go to the park type day. It makes everyone older than twenty start telling stories of how this would never keep them from school in the old days. Anyone over thirty five might even be telling the truth. 

Back in the day people lived in the neighborhood that their schools were in. Teachers lived in the neighborhood the schools were in. So the decision to have school was an easier one. Fast forward thirty years, where no one walks to school anymore and teachers have to commute in for thirty minutes and actuaries and lawsuits seem to always be looming, and the decision to NOT have school is the easier. It results in those "cry wolf" or more accurately "cry snow" moments that make us use all the built in snow days as soon as possible.

That usually works out just about perfectly most years in the Baltimore area. But this year, that some news channels are presenting as "The Winter That Just Won't End", it didn't work out and made all the superintendents look foolish and incompetent. They were trigger happy in the beginning, then later on, on days like today that could have used a two hour delay to get passed the slick roads caused by the morning snow, they are so trigger shy that they won't do the right thing. Many school districts are already clambering to reclaim days off by canceling holidays and such. So there is no way they are going to potentially add to the current deficit. To be fair the school supers are handicapped by the lack of weather talent in the Baltimore area news channels.

And now for a weather story of yore to make you feel guilty and drive home the point of how good you got it. When I moved back from Italy, there was no housing available at APG so my parents bought a town home in a neighboring town called Abingdon. Problem is when the school year started, the house wasn't finished, so we had to stay with my grandparents in the Randallstown area and commute the hour or so up to my assigned school which was Bel Air middle. Since your grandfather had to get to work early at APG, that meant he and I started early.  Back then the school system would never just cancel, they would start with an hour delay, then move to the two hour delay, and then finally closed. Since army bases rarely close for snow, and we had to leave so early especially with snow, I would often hear about the school closing as your grandpa and I pulled in to the school. That meant I had the choice of staying the day in the major's office or staying the day at the base library. No snowball fights or sledding for me on those days. That is my story. Not quite walking to school, in three foot of snow, uphill, both ways...but you get the picture.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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