Snow Day!

I love the delight on my girls’ faces when they wake up to find themselves facing the pinnacle of childhood freedom: the snow day.


Photo, Oregon Department of Transportation via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Photo courtesy of The_Childrens_Museum_of_Indianapolis via Wikimedia Commons

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.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Snow days were the things we dreamed and hoped for every time snow was in the forecast in Virginia. We usually could count on at least 2-3 days a year and they were spent outside sledding from morning to night. I remember coming home all cold, wet and exhausted. Our basement was full of everyone’s snow clothes hung up for drying with hopes that the next day might prove another snow day again.

  2. Happiest childhood memories of all for me. I’d go to my best friend’s home where they had the ultimate sledding hill. We called it the camel’s hump. 2 hills and if you went fast enough you’d go down then up the next and then down again. We would do it all day until her Grandmere would call us in midday, for tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and hot Ovaltine, served in of all placed in the ” bomb shelter ” underground. Yep it was the mid 50’s and everyone was building their own . Then warmed up we’d head back out and sled till sunset.

  3. I’m all grown up, and I still get excited about snow days

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