That was a real snowstorm

Hey, it’s still winter in Iowa.

In case that slipped anyone’s mind, Mother Nature tossed us her idea of a little bon mot Sunday and Monday to remind us spring has not yet sprung.

Officially, Old Man Winter packs his bags on Tuesday, making room for Spring to move in the next day with her promises of green grass, gentle (and we hope sufficient) rainfall and warming temperatures.

In the meantime, we had what I remember as a real Iowa snowstorm. Not a piddling 2 or 3 inches of snow. But a real-honest-to-goodness, back-straining-to-lift-the-shovel, wish-I-had-another-pair-of-dry-gloves, pile-it-into-waist-high-berms snow.

I will admit that I never walked to school uphill both ways during my childhood. But, I do remember schools back then being extremely diligent in making sure that anytime students could get to school, they did so.

My family lived outside the city limits, so we rode the bus. True, we were one of the last households on the gravel road to experience the joys of bus transportation, but we were far enough out to be eligible for one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed on country-living school kids in rural southern Iowa.

Sometimes, when it had snowed long enough and hard enough to create slippery white-dressed mountains on our already hilly roads, the city kids still had classes to attend, but our beloved superintendent would decree that buses would run on hard-surface roads only. There was no penalty for those of us on gravel roads if we truly could not get to school, doomed (or treated) to a lack of learning that day.

Well, that’s what happened for the Davis kids, who lived at the next bus stop. I’m pretty sure the Buckinghams got a free pass – although technically, their house was right at the edge of the paved city street.

But thanks to my dad, the Wallace girls got no such opportunity.

As the owner of a auto body repair business, Dad had a tow truck.

And, in those days before mandatory seat belt use, no matter how bad the weather, if the city kids had classes, the Wallace girls faithfully crammed themselves and their books into the cab of the wrecker and made their way to school. The ideal, by the way, was to sit next to the window on the passenger’s side. Otherwise, you were the sister forced to dance with the gear shifter all the way to town.

I’ve never really been sure if the school thing was Dad’s idea or if Mom insisted. While she was a great proponent of learning, I suspect a day of being cooped up in the house with Carolyn and me – high-spirited from a get-out-of-school-free pass – strengthened her commitment to making sure we received the most complete education possible.

Barbara Wallace Hughes is managing editor of The Messenger.