Photo Credit: Jewish Press

My most memorable snow day of all time was a far cry from the traditional snow days we had known and longed for, growing up on the east coast of the United States. In those days, we kids would peer out through our bedroom windows on winter nights, mumbling a barely audible prayer that the smattering of snowflakes falling from the heavens would miraculously accumulate sufficiently to be deemed a full-blown snowstorm by the time the new day dawned. Then, we would eagerly hold our collective breath awaiting the music-to-our-ears announcement on the morning news:

“The following schools do not have classes today…” deliciously culminating in a list of school closures, including ours!


Ironically, most of our parents listened to those same newscasts with a feeling of mounting alarm. Without a doubt, my father and his fellow principals dreaded the school closure season most of all. In addition to being stuck home with a houseful of their own restless children, it was their responsibility to activate the school phone tree system and ascertain that the entire parent and student body, as well as all staff members, were notified of the cancellation well before the school day was scheduled to begin.

Years later, when I was a Mom and my family and I lived on the West Coast, we were introduced to a new and highly amusing twist on the traditional snow day experience.

Because it never snowed in Southern California, and because our school PTA was both well endowed and generous, they instituted a “Snow Day” tradition of their own. I kid you not. Every year, shortly before the annual mid-winter vacation began, notices were sent to all the elementary school parents:  SNOW DAY IS COMING!

This highly anticipated announcement was followed by the date of the event, and the incongruous instructions to send the children to school with coats, hats and gloves.

The students eagerly looked forward to this once annual event, and the incomparable PTA heads worked feverishly to ensure that everything would be orchestrated to perfection.

First and foremost, they arranged for a company to send trucks full of snow, which was then dumped onto a specific area of the huge school parking lot, adjacent to one of the buildings.

There was a meticulous schedule drawn up in advance, allotting 20-minute time slots to each of the pre-school and lower school classes. Then each class in turn, accompanied by their teacher and aide, would proceed to the yard in an organized fashion and spend the next while frolicking in the white stuff. This continued for the entire day, after which the Southern California sun would do its thing, and melt the surplus snow into sloppy puddles that eventually evaporated and faded from memory until the following winter.

One year, however, despite the PTA’s usual largesse and organizational skills, the long awaited snow day became an unparalleled fiasco that will never be forgotten by anyone who experienced or witnessed it.

Well, actually snow day itself was a rousing success as always. It was only later in the day, during afternoon carpool, that things abruptly spun out of control. Literally.

One grandmother came to pick up her grandchildren, and somehow her tires slid on the ice, in a surreal scene totally incongruous with the balmy temperatures and abundant sunshine.

Before anyone knew what was happening, her car dangerously swerved out of its designated path, hitting a young student and pinning him against the wall of the school building.

We were all aghast and uncomprehending, expecting the worst, chas veshalom. And, needless to say, the hapless grandmother was understandably hysterical and in utter shock.


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