Remember last Tuesday, Nov. 27? Gray and chilly and about an inch of snow.
Several area schools were closed that day. But not Norwalk or St. Paul. And I was proud of them. That’s probably because I was a 1960s kind of school kid. And there was no way a little snow was going to keep us from going to school in those days.
Witness a story from this very newspaper which appeared November 28, 1966-52 years earlier and one November day later than last Tuesday.
The headline on that story said: “Snowfall Greets Commuters.”
A more appropriate headline would have been: “Clip and Save.”
I say this because the story can serve as a proof source for my generation and all those that came before.
That’s right, in just four paragraphs the “Snowfall Greets Commuters” story provided an irrefutable illustration of what we have always claimed to our offspring—the recollections that start with the words “When I was a kid…”
You will want to pay close attention because almost everything in the story is important to validate what we students-of-the-‘60s have always claimed.
The lead paragraph on that 1966 story was: “Norwalk awakened this morning to find the ground covered by six inches of snow, the heaviest snowfall here in three years.”
Right there we have some ammo. To the best of my recollection, most children of school age here in 2018 have never even seen a decent November snowfall. But, as the story proves, back in the ‘60s we were getting it six inches at a time. Take that, you doubtful youngsters!
But here’s more: “Snow began falling about 11 p.m. Monday and continued throughout the night. It contributed to seven area accidents between midnight and 7 a.m. today. There were also several city accidents. The temperature dipped to 23 degrees this morning.”
I knew winters used to start earlier and last longer and be colder and snowier than anything we see these days. Heck, I’ll bet last Tuesday there were kids wearing flip flops and T-shirts to school. We, on the other hand, were growing up on the very fringe of the last Ice Age. I knew I wasn’t imagining this stuff. And now I have an actual newspaper story to prove it.
But there’s more: A photo accompanying the article showed Wendy Fowler and Helen Kluding trudging through the snow on their way to school.
Isn’t that the best!
Heaviest snowfall in years.
Six inches on the ground.
Cars crashing into things all night long.
Bitter cold in the morning.
AND THEY STILL HAD SCHOOL!
I knew it! I knew I was not imagining this stuff!
When I first saw this story six years ago, I called little Helen Kluding for more details.
She’s grown up now, of course, and married to Dan Hipp. In fact, they have three adult children of their own.
Best of all, she verified the accuracy of the story and even added some bonus material.
“We lived on West Washington and either took the bus or walked to school. That day we must have walked,” she laughed. “I was in fourth grade, and it was about a mile from our house to school.”
There you go. These days if we get a heavy frost they call off school.
But in 1966, on a 23 degree November morning with six inches of snow on the ground, the Fowlers and Hipps bundled up their little girls and aimed them down West Washington toward their school a mile distant.
That’s the way we did it back then.
And I am very glad to have a newspaper article that proves it.
I only wish the story would have also mentioned that in those days West Washington — and most streets, for that matter — was uphill both ways. At least that’s the way I remember it.
Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] hotmail.com.