Friday, February 8

Wow, these weather forecast people are becoming phenomenal with their ability to project the weather recently. It used to be that they couldn’t predict what yesterdays weather was with any degree of accuracy. Now they predict that it will snow at a given hour and it DOES!!
I sat here this morning, sipping coffee and reading my AOL news…awaiting the beginning of the projected blitz of snow that we are all dreading…looking out the window occasionally for signs of its arrival. At 8:45, I went to the weather channel to see what their latest projection was and when it was to start. It said it was to be snowing at 9:00 AM. I laughed…thinking that with nothing happening fifteen minutes before the target time, how accurate could they be?
Fifteen minutes later…we reached 9:00 AM…and it was snowing! You had to look close, but there was a really fine but constant falling of snow that actually resembled fog. Now at 9:20…it is evident immediately upon looking out the window, that it has increased its intensity and will continue to do so throughout the day as predicted. WOW!!! Congratulations guys…Well DONE!
I remember many years ago wondering like many kids today…just how long it would be and IF…the school would indeed, send us home early. Well, in the sixties, they did not close schools too quickly with the falling of snow. Many times the roads were totally messed up before they would call school off for the day and send us home. In fact…it was really; really rare that school was called off at all in the winter, unless it was a projected three foot snow fall event. (and they had those in the early sixties)

The snows of the sixties drifted terribly...
I remember one such morning in 1961…when I was ten years old. They were calling for a possible 34” accumulation and I figured school would be called off, but by 6:45…the radio had not included State College schools among the other closures. Sadly, I prepared for the worst…going to school when every other school in Central Pennsylvania was closing…and their kids would frolic in the snowfall all day long.
I waded the already accumulated 14” of snow to get to the outhouse in the back yard. Kicking the snow away from the door to get it open, I entered the dark…lonely little area of personal relief. If you’ve never had the privilege to sit on a cold wooden seat, with your bare butt hanging through a hole where cold air from below would occasionally rush across you…let me tell you, you can sometimes forget why you are there in the first place, because you miraculously don’t have to go anymore! Not until you get back into the warm house that is…then the urge returns.
Anyway…after my return trudge through the mounting snow, I went upstairs to dress in the COLD bedroom. Usually this was accomplished after jumping back in bed, under the covers and hap which kept us warm in bed. I would pull my clothes in with me, waiting for the clothes to warm to the temperature under the covers, rather than the sometime sub freezing temperature of the bedroom. Water in the little tin cup my Mom gave us each night, so we would not have to get up for a drink…would sometimes freeze solid! I remember on Saturday mornings…lying in bed, watching the curtains blowing and fine snow swirling around inside the room as my bedroom window rattled from the blowing winter winds.
I would dress under the covers and emerge fully clothed so I would only have to put my shoes on. Often, I would have cold toes before I reached the kitchen where I could hold my shoes next to the kerosene heater while I ate breakfast of oatmeal, which my Mom decided would stick to your ribs and help keep you warm. In those days, nothing kept you warm beyond the several wool blankets and old quilts and haps on the bed. You would go to bed and feel like you were pressed and glued into position under the heavy covers, but often you would sleep with only your nose and mouth exposed between actually covering you head completely. Jeeze um…what fond memories of my childhood……
Anyway, we would continue to listen to the radio as I ate and huddled around that old kerosene heater, until it was time to go to the bus stop. In those years, the bus came to a little wooden building used as a community waiting spot for all the kids in our community. It was 1-¼ mile down the road, so all us kids would join at the corner and walk to the bus stop.
The high school kids watched over the younger kids, unlike today when they would torture, molest or kill younger kids. We all waited at the bus stop for the bus…or would leave when we were sure it wasn’t coming and head for home as a group again. That mile and a quarter trek was along a dirt road with no houses along the way until you reached Marysville…the little settlement in which we all lived…in one of the eight houses. There were fourteen kids from eight little houses in that little settlement on the edge of the Barrens and Harbison-Walker Refractories Company property, which was huge. The Barrens encompassed the renowned Andrew Carnegie Iron Works, which was designated as a historical site from the early to mid 1800’s.
I guess what I’m saying here is that we lived in the brush…beyond the sticks that some folks lived in!
Sometimes the radio had information about school closures, but they didn’t broadcast them as early as we needed to hear since we began getting ready for school at 5:30 in the morning. They would give the reports of closures around 7:00 which was plenty for folks living close to the school…but we were already walking to the bus stop at 6:15 and rode the bus an hour before reaching the school at 7:45 sometimes.

This is one of my Dad's route men. My Dad was route manager. Nothing stopped the milk man either...Not even this!
Oh….for the good old days.
The snow crippled us back then...They handle snow removal differently now...
In stark contrast to the previous story of my childhood, let’s look at what kids today might see and live with. Look at iPhones, iPads, iPods, video games, lap top computers and such. Remember when I was in school, a notebook was cloth covered cardboard outside and three rings inside which held paper. Now they are a small electronic computer!
Look at transportation. Here is what kids see today. Not the old glass globed gas pumps with an attendant pumping your gas, cleaning the windshield, or checking your tires and oil. Now you hunt a plug in station for your car. This was science fiction when I was a kid. ALL OF IT!!!
Science fiction of years gone by...reality today!
My how times have changed…….

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