I was standing in my dining room, drinking a cup of coffee, staring out the window the other day. Across the street is the school bus stop, so for a brief time, each morning there stands a collection of young students, mindlessly milling around until the bus arrives. Of note is that this is winter time in Maine. Temperatures in the teens and twenties are the norm. Yet, there stood at least two boys, wearing parkas and, to my surprise and chagrin, shorts. What is the matter with kids today.
Then I thought about when I was a kid and how my mother would always be concerned that, when in my teens, I never buttoned or zipped up my coat. Didn't bother me near as much as it did her.
Where I grew up, there were no yellow buses. We all walked to school. In the summer, it was fun to jostle with your friends, sharing lies and tall tales with each other. But in the winter, it was quite something else again. Mom would dress us in the kitchen. Padded snow pants over which she would pull on and snap up a pair of rubber boots. They were called galoshes then. Next came a scarf over which a frayed but warm coat was buttoned, all the way up to the neck. Lastly, my prized leather aviator cap with shear-ling lined ear flaps, and of course, the requisite mittens, which when very young, were pinned to our sleeves.
Our books were carried in an old green book bag, cinched at the top and thrown over our shoulder, or more often then not, swung around or dragged during our school ward journey. Funny how I remember all this , but I don't remember ever being cold, even when my face was apple red. It was just something you did. If you weren't going to school, you would be playing outside anyway. Winter was subjective.
So when you hear the stories from your grandpa about how he used to walk to school in waist high snow and how the trip was uphill, both ways, you may want to think back on the fun you had, and how much those kids across the street are missing.