The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of a writing community.
We had a delayed opening today due to Stella, the what-we-hope-is-the-last winter storm of the season. The roads were still icy, and everyone was having trouble getting to where they needed to be on time. I had that feeling of dread every time I rounded a bend on the way to school, and the parking lot was still a treacherous glass of ice everywhere I needed to put one foot in front of the other on my way the school house door.
The halls seemed subdued when students finally began to file in. Parkas crinkled and swished, boots squeaked, puddles began to form by lockers where students grumpily stacked and removed the items they needed, the hallways were marked up with trails and tracks of salt and snow .
We began our day as we usually do, reading. For a time, a blissful time, the only sounds in our classroom were of pages turning, some sniffly breathing, and the radiator blowing gusts of hot air up into the clothesline display of our Lewis and Clark projects. I glanced around at my kids sprawled around the room in their “reading zones” and was transported back in time, momentarily…
…to 1967, a classroom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I was spending a year while my parents taught at MIT. Coming from India, I had seen traces of snow only at a great distance – from the windows of trains traveling up to the hill country of Simla and Darjeeling. And there was so much snow that Boston winter! I never tired of touching it, tasting delicate snowflakes, building snow men, fashioning snow balls, and just gazing out windows at the white expanse that changed with every phase of sunlight and moonlight.
I especially loved reading at my wooden school desk, which was (oh so happily!) right next to the great big radiator and the window. The radiator ran the length of the window – and we lined up our woolen mittens and scarves every morning and after every recess on its perpetually gurgling ridges. I loved the woolly smell that emanated, something so quintessentially wintery, and every once in a while I’d look up to see if delicate plumes of steam were still rising from this winter army assembled in a haphazard jumble of pink, green and blue. I loved reading time in that comfortable old classroom, winter outside and the warmth of our reading community inside.
In my classroom this morning, my kids were in their favorite spots and positions, lost in their books. I wonder what memories they will have of their snowy reading days in school.