The best thing to happen on the Monday after Daylight Saving Time is a snow day on Tuesday. It softens the blow that accompanies that disoriented feeling as though you have travelled through a time zone only to realize you wake up in your own bed, and not in Chicago. My colleagues at school were walking around after lunch checking to see if school had been called off for tomorrow. It was like waiting for your potential lottery ticket and hoping you have at least four out of five numbers if not the winning ticket. Yes, we have a winner (winter?). Despite living in New England for the past forty years, it still stymies the best of us as we somehow forget that this is the region that can see a hint of spring in the air and feel the hope and the joy, akin to the Red Sox before they broke that curse, only to be shocked to find we may have another winter storm in March. After all is said and done, we have zero control over this mystery called weather forecasting and radar and maps and just as we always do, we wait for the text, or FB message or in my case, the RI Broadcasters Association to give a thumbs up and declare ” New Bedford Pub. Schools. Closed Tomorrow”. Sweet words even though it means in June we are still in school as spring then turns to summer.
I was trying to recall snow days in New York City. I know we had them and yet somehow they didn’t leave as much of an impact as they do now. Maybe we were heartier souls. New Yorkers are a tough breed. I remember lots of hurricanes coming through and post storm downed trees, and mayhem in the neighborhood, with debris everywhere and schools closings. In the sixties and seventies we had Hurricanes Donna, Agnes, Doria and Carrie. We might have lost power, but as long as I had my friends to play with in the apartment building, my sister and I didn’t have to go far to be entertained. I imagine my parents were glued to the radio and television to watch the weather patterns. After the storms, it felt like we were all Dorothy waking up after the twister, and there was sunshine and it seemed like a dream and we certainly weren’t in Kansas. School years seemed about five years long. Snow didn’t stay long on the ground and it turned to dirty gray pretty quickly because of the cars. The corners of the blocks were usually piled high with snow mountains and crossing streets was somewhat treacherous but if you fell, it was fun even if you fell in murky, icy water. The storm drains worked furiously taking away the melted snow. The supers who were responsible for clearing paths in front of our building, worked to move the snow close to the curbs and usually blocked access to the cars parked on both sides of the street. Once the snowstorms passed, you would see people out with shovels trying to find their cars under lots of snow and little place to put the snow, which seemed to end up in the streets. I was glad I wasn’t a grown-up so I didn’t have to help.
The anticipation, even after the snow day is declared, is couched in wondering when the snow will begin. The storm is predicted to be blizzard-like and regions north of us might experience several feet. The winds are supposed to be fierce with whiteouts. It all sounds so dramatic and the plows are ready for business. Sometimes it takes a snow day, when we are “forced” to stay in and stay put, to bring that feeling back fifty years or more. I can look out the big windows and watch the storm come through and I can settle in and do something that doesn’t look or feel like work. Loft living means no shovelling and losing power is rare. It’s like a weekend day without errands. Family will call from the other side of the country to check if we are all right. We have bread and milk, and enough food to make it through the rest of the month, if not into April. No need to worry, we’ll be just fine. Thanks for worrying, though. We are New Englanders, with a little bit of New York swag.