Thursday, January 8, 2015
I was a senior in high school the year this picture was taken. The Chicago schools were closed the actual day of the blizzard for an in-service day. It was graduation day for the Winter 1967 class--Chicago schools had mid-year graduations back then in addition to the standard June graduations. I was at school to help set up the choir chairs for the graduation scheduled for that evening. Fortunately, I had made arrangements to stay with a friend who lived across the street from the school because I didn't get home for three days. That was a Thursday. The school was closed ONE day (Friday). We were back in school on Monday.
In my era, girls wore SKIRTS to school. Slacks weren't allowed. Think about that.
At that time, there were no school buses. If you didn't want to walk, you rode the CTA. But that cost money and we didn't have money for bus rides. I received fifty cents for milk for lunch for the week. My student pass for the bus allowed me to ride for forty-five cents. Do the math. One ride, no milk for the week, my choice. Then there was the wait--on cold, windy corners--for the bus. So the individual who said it was colder waiting for a bus, than walking, was mostly correct.
Of course, things are different now. Many children don't have a hot breakfast before they go out the door. My mom was up every morning, making sure I had a hot bowl of oatmeal or cream of wheat, plus toast before I left for school. Every morning. It was waaaaaay before the days of microwaves and packaged foods.
Another commenter on my friend's post mentioned how poor kids didn't have coats, scarves, gloves... Well, we were poor. Until I was a senior, I didn't have any clothing bought for me. It all came out of the missionary barrel at church--or from my cousin. I was thrilled to have it. Things were recycled--not through thrift shops where they cost money--but through local churches. I wasn't worried about what my peer group was wearing. Neither were they. We had other stuff going on. The Vietnam War was in full swing. Our fellows were worried about whether their number would come up in the draft. Girls were anxious over whether their boyfriends and brothers would have to go. Mostly, we did our best to get on with life.
A lot more was expected from kids back then. We had chores. We had responsibilities. We had civic duties. On the weekend we had church. Free time? What was that? We didn't own a TV. After my homework was done, I would sneak in a few minutes of reading before 'lights out' was declared...at 9:30 PM. By then, I was so tired, sleep wasn't an issue.
Looking back, I wonder how things would be different if we could redo the seventies. What if we didn't have microwaves and all the other conveniences that have somehow moved the center of the home from the kitchen to the living room in front of the TV? What if we didn't have electronics that allowed us to separate even more, accepting the false idea that we were more connected? What if cell phones had never been invented? Would we be more involved with our families?
Frankly, I don't know. Without the Internet I would be isolated. Health issues keep me indoors, away from the possibility of infection. It would be a lonely place without the ability to reach out across the world. I think that old world is long gone. We can't compare our youth with the youngsters of today. There are new terrors and new problems for today's parents. Oh, we can shake our heads and say, "Back in my day..." But this isn't then. This is now.
And they close schools because it's cold.