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Snow: the Great Equalizer

A snow day makes us all feel the same way, regardless of when we were born. For one brief moment, we are all on the same plane. In the same time and space. Across the generations. Snow, that great equalizer, has allowed us to pause during a time we have already pressed pause. Snow is timeless. […]

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Snow doesn't change. Whether it fell on a quiet street in New York in the 1940s, a suburban New Jersey neighborhood in the 1990s, or today, its power has the same impact on people.  
Snow doesn't change. Whether it fell on a quiet street in New York in the 1940s, a suburban New Jersey neighborhood in the 1990s, or today, its power has the same impact on people.  

A snow day makes us all feel the same way, regardless of when we were born.
 For one brief moment, we are all on the same plane. In the same time and space. Across the generations. Snow, that great equalizer, has allowed us to pause during a time we have already pressed pause.

Snow is timeless. This 20-year old snow fort could have been created today

Snow means nothing.

I can work.

I am a writer. I have fingers. I have electricity.

So what is it about a snow day like today that just makes me want to snuggle up on the couch and binge watch mindless shows? Dip my pretzels in Nutella.

My kids haven’t been in the public schools for almost four years. Yet yesterday I kept hitting refresh on my computer to see when the snow day would get called.

The girls next door squeal with delight as they ride their sleds, make snowmen. Snow shovels scrape. Visceral sounds that I can actually feel.

Snow days conjure up memories of childhood. I close my eyes. I hear children playing. Whose childhood is it? My childhood. My kids’ childhood. The snow memories blur together.

Someone is checking the produce drawer for a carrot, fighting with the legs of snow pants, and the mini marshmallows bounce in the hot chocolate. Could be me…could be my kids.

This snow baby is now a senior at Boston College.

When they were little, we bundled up, packed the car. Found the hills in town..The getting-ready process took longer than the time we actually sled. They giggled when I asked if I could ride down the hill on the back of their sleds. We screamed. Where had my fearless bravado gone? 

I tell my kids about the great snow capers from my 1970s childhood. Growing up in our sweet, suburban Long Island neighborhood, we would sit on the snow banks that formed against the fence of a large school field around the corner from the house, oblivious to the cold and wind around us, enjoying an unexpected day off from school.

Kids did that back then. Took themselves off on adventures. Jumped on their bikes. Climbed snowbanks half a story high without an adult in sight.

My dad just called from balmy Ft. Lauderdale, interrupting the flow of writing this post. 

How is the storm, he asks.

I told him I was writing a blog about it. About what memories it conjures up. Immediately, he launched into his childhood snow memories. 

He was about 10, living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, on Division St.,a small street off the main thoroughfare of East Broadway.

Everyone in the neighborhood was poor in the mid-1940s, he said. The streets were dirty. The houses were old, and it was clear to him, even at that young age, that things “didn’t match.” 

Then came the snow. 

It was the great equalizer.

The snow made everything look beautiful. He told me about laying in his bed at night, which was pushed up against the window. There was no traffic, and the neighborhood was illuminated by street lamps.

Photo by Wurts Brothers from the digital collection of the Museum of the City of New York: x2010.7.1.16299]

It was magical, he said. 

Until it wasn’t. 

Everything was powered by coal, and things got very ugly very quickly. First it was brown. Then it was black. Then it was black slush. 

As he shared his memories, I heard a longing in his voice. He misses the snow. 

Back to today. I am shut in. Safe. Looking through the window as the snow accumulates on the patio furniture and covers the cars. 

No matter that I have been glued to my house as I recover from shoulder surgery. And, oh yeah, no matter that there is a pandemic that has kept me home anyway. No matter at all. Today is different. 

For one brief moment, we are all on the same plane. In the same time and space. Across the generations. Snow, that great equalizer, has allowed us to pause during a time we have already pressed pause. 

When I hear the clanking of the snowplow, I am sad. It means I lose the right to luxuriate in my cocoon. The escape route has been defined. Time to step away from the Nutella.

And even if, because of the pandemic, I’m not actually going to leave, it just feels different after they come through. 

Snow means everything.

#snowdays #blogwriter #nutella #netflix #doyouwannabuildasnowman #lowereastside #longisland #childhoodmemories #snowday #blizzardof2021 #noreasterof2021 #bostoncollege

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