Wednesday, January 29, 2014

School in 1882

No cancellations for bad weather. From The Atlantic:
Record-low temperatures caused by the Polar Vortex have forced schools across the country to close this week. Weather-related school cancellations tend to raise anxieties about whether we're a nation of wimps. During President Obama's first winter in Washington, he complained when his daughters' school closed for bad weather: "We're going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town." In response to this latest round of school closings, a Virginia mom sighed, "Hasn’t anyone heard of gloves, scarf and a hat when it’s cold?? Just bundle up—people do it all over the world. We are such wimps to cancel school."

A story about a teacher assigned to a one-room schoolhouse in South Dakota in the 1880s will confirm suspicions that America has gone soft when it comes to dealing with the cold. The story is from These Happy Golden Years, the second-to-last book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved "Little House" series about growing up on the American frontier. It describes the protagonist, a 15-year-old teacher named Laura, traveling a half a mile in the snow to get to school....(Read more.)

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

I have always loved the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder, since my 4th grade teacher read her books to us, a chapter a day, the entire school year. I was fascinated by the resourcefulness and pure endurance of the people who forged homes and communities in the forbidding environment of the totally undeveloped plains, and I was very grateful for the modern comforts I enjoyed, such as clean, treated water from the tap and central heat. It suddenly did not seem like such a hardship to trudge 8 blocks to the bus stop to go to school on a freezing day in suburban St Louis.

Now we close the schools just because it's COLD? In CHICAGO? Good grief! Back in my younger days in the Bronze Age of the 60s, the public schools did not shut down even if the snow was up to the 2nd floor window sill. It was -8 F with the windchill at -59 F in St Louis in early 1970, my last year of high school, and we STILL had to go to school. That was the year we made the schools let us girls wear slacks to school- our mothers called the school board and told the administrators in no uncertain terms that we were wearing slacks and to get over it. After all, most of us walked. But we went to school, by God. On foot, wearing 3 layers of clothing under our coats.

What a nation of cosseted wussies we have become.