I love the delight on my girls’ faces when they wake up to find themselves facing the pinnacle of childhood freedom: the snow day.
They’ve been hoping for one with each snow we’ve had. I’ve never known a kid who didn’t love a snow day. And that got me wondering about snow days of yore.
Just like today, kids enjoying a snow day 100 years ago might break out their Flexible Flyers for a slide down the hill. The sled made its debut in the 1910s and by the end of 1915, consumers were purchasing 2,000 sleds a day.
After sledding, they might come inside for hot cocoa, but making it was a whole different ballgame in the days before microwaves and convenient packaged mixes. Hot cocoa had to be boiled, a long process that involved steeping cocoa shells or cracked beans and could take upwards of an hour.
While waiting, siblings and friends might have enjoyed a friendly game of Rook, a card game invented at the turn of the century whose deck did not include any face cards, thereby rendering it useless for gambling and safe for family play. By then, the gang might mosey back outside and gather teams for ice-barrel ball, a sport that falls somewhere between hockey and basketball and involved two opposing teams trying to throw a ball into a barrel while ice skating.
I’m sure those kids got all tuckered out, just like mine. It’s good to know some things never change.