Yesterday, my sister blogged about having to drive her kids to school because it was too rainy for them to walk. And it got me wistful for when I was a kid.
Back in our public school days, my sister and I both used to walk to school – throughout the entire year. I’d walk with my best friends and she with hers.
It wasn’t onerous at all, even with our little-kid legs. In fact, our elementary school and junior high were close enough to our house that we could both make it home and back at lunchtime every day – right through grade nine! It was maybe a 15-minute walk, and we basically did it every day, regardless of cold temperatures (that’s what scarves, long johns, and snow suits were for) or snow (Nana kept us supplied with knitted mittens, and for well-bundled kids, snow was icing on the cake; snowball fights on the way to school? Yes please!)
Yup. Every day, twice a day. Even once we got to high school – which was a little further away (25 minutes?) – walking was our primary mode of transportation. We couldn’t make it home for lunch by then, so we only had to brave the elements at the start and end of the day.
The only exception to our morning walks were rain days. On days that were particularly wet – not just drizzly – we’d all pile into a car and get a lift to school. Our parents took turns. Sometimes my Mom would drive, taxiing around to our friends’ houses to pick everyone up – and sometimes it was someone else’s mom, with a huge-ass station wagon. The windows would fog as more kids piled in the car, but we were always grateful for not having to get soaked.
I still walk every morning – to work now, instead of school. It takes 25 minutes either way. And I still brave the freezing wind chill (I have long johns and scarves) and the heavy snows (I have good boots, although gloves have replaced the knitted mittens). But I’ve had to add a good umbrella to my arsenal; I no longer get drives to work if it’s raining. Oh, if he’s got a downtown appointment, Junkii will give me a lift, but for the most part, I’m prone to get sodden on downpour-days – even with an umbrella.
Still, if only other option is to drive myself to work every day, and to be stuck in traffic jams, I’ll take the odd rainy-day walk. For most of the year, my morning commute is a great way to ease into the workday; but I do miss that early-morning taxi service on particularly nasty days.