This Delay Was Made Possible By – A Commendation

I had an interesting déjá vu this morning during which I concluded that elementary school secretaries often operate invisibly.
I moved to Pennsylvania from Florida in January 1988. It was the second half of first grade and my third school of the year. I knew nothing of overnight snowfalls, salt trucks, or snow days. I don’t remember the date of my first snow day, but I hadn’t been at my new school for very long. Everything was still foreign and I walked to school alone.
I do remember tromping through the snow that morning, not so blissfully unaware of the serene barrenness. It never occurred to me to notice the absence of other students walking to school or the missing crossing guards. The only thing I was beginning to notice was that despite its enchanting sparkly beauty, the snow was cold and melting into my socks. (I didn’t know about snow boots then either.)
I arrived – with sloppy sopping feet – at a dark and empty school; I stood in the front entrance for a long time before I walked to my classroom which was also dark and empty.
There was only one light on in the whole place casting its warm glow on the gray linoleumed hall floor. I guess I walked past the secretary’s office on my way to the classroom. She followed me and met me at the door where I couldn’t decide what to do.
We went back to her office and I imagine she called my mom to explain the situation and clue us all into the novelty of two-hour delays and cancellations and how one becomes apprised of both. I was relieved that I didn’t have to trudge back home through the puddly snow. We laid out my socks and shoes on the radiator and I read books with the secretary for two hours until everyone showed up.
It’s notable to me now because this morning my daughter had her first snow delay and we almost missed it. Casey and Evelina were on the way out the door when the memory seized me and I rushed to the computer searching for delays. And there it was – 10 am start.
But then I was conflicted. Many of the other schools mentioned their special circumstances for Kindergarteners: “modified AM Kindergarten,” “no AM Kindergarten,” and stuff like that, but her school didn’t say anything about Kindergarten and I didn’t know what that meant for her. But I knew who would know!
The secretary. I called her, she was friendly and helpful and delighted to be so.
I’ve learned a lot about living with snow since I was seven. This morning my daughter wore tall snow boots so she wouldn’t arrive with wet feet. I packed her an extra pair of shoes so she didn’t have to clunk around in the outerwear all morning, and we caught the delay just in time.
The circumstances have changed, but after twenty years, it’s still the unnamed secretaries who made these snow days possible.

3 thoughts on “This Delay Was Made Possible By – A Commendation

  1. It’s amazing who really runs the show. In fact, I would imagine a good many international crisis were avoided due to good secretaries… nuff said…
    I’m still waiting for “Sun” days and delays, but to no avail… hrumph… I’ll just have to write my congressman.


  2. Sorry about that snow day when you were in 1st grade but that was something sort of new to me also, since I had lived in Florida for 6 years. I am happy for you that you didn’t miss Evelina’s first snow delay.


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