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Remembering School Closings in ‘Olden Days’

Cold Snap Brings Sub Zero Weather
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The cancellation of classes because of the cold reminded me of similar situations in the “Dark Ages,” i.e., when I was in school.

As I’ve said before, these were the 1950s and 1960s when, let’s face it, things were different.

I’m pretty sure we probably had some days off from school because of the cold, but mostly it was because of snow. I do remember, however, being sent home early due to heat and school buildings that were not air-conditioned, but that’s for another time.

My senior year was, up until a couple of years ago, the benchmark for snowfall in a winter season, and we had lots of days where we missed school.

I seem to remember a stretch of about two weeks where the school district didn’t run buses because of the snow. So it was “Find your own way to school and get here if you can.”

Now, we lived ten miles out of town and on a McCook County road, even though it was graveled, not paved as it is now. So it was really easy to say, “Nope, we can’t get out today.”

When it came time for the District basketball tournament in Madison, I pretty much shoveled my way to town in my trusty 1963 Chevy BelAir on a Thursday morning.

But when the bus got to Madison and our team was on the floor warming up, we got word that our opponents had been stopped by the South Dakota Highway Patrol and ordered to turn around and go back home.

So for us it was back on the bus and back home. But I was snowed in, so I stayed at a friend’s house Thursday and Friday nights.

We played on Saturday and lost, and then I was able to drive home. Almost.

I got within a mile of our farm and had to leave my car and walk the rest of the way because the plows hadn’t come through yet.

I don’t think I want to talk about this anymore.

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