Long-Ago Snow


It’s supposed to snow again tonight. Drat! A “little” snow — I’m sick of a little snow. I’ve had to brush a little snow off my car every morning this week (or at least it seems that way). We’re at the end of February and it still seems as dark and dreary as January. February used to be the hopeful month; winter didn’t seem so long once we hit Valentine’s Day. The past couple of years, though, February has been the source of all kinds of winter trouble. (Thank YOU, global warming.)

They say sometimes it’s better to embrace what you don’t like. In that spirit, I’m celebrating “a little snow” by sharing the above photo from sometime in the 1940s. That frost-covered rapscallion on the far left is my father at about 14 years of age. That unruly bunch is standing in the playground/parking lot of St. Cecilia school in Oakley, on the east side of Cincinnati.

Last I looked, those houses in the background are still there. The camera is facing in the direction of Gilmore Avenue — the public library is at the corner. The house on the left is a residence; I’m pretty sure the house on the right is the nun’s convent (or it was when I was a student at St. Cecilia’s; Dad once pointed out a brick house on Taylor, the street behind the cameraman, and said the parish nuns lived there instead when he was a boy).

Dad and I attended St. Cecilia’s about 20 years apart; and now it’s been 40 years (this year) since I graduated from eighth grade there. That’s amazing, for reasons I guess anyone over the age of, say, 35 would understand.

As for the snow — looks like it was a heck of a snowball fight and lots of fun. Snow brought out the kid in my father even when he was older. We never had to worry about our sidewalks getting shoveled; Dad was always out there and would often shovel his way right on up Maple Drive. Maybe that was because we never seemed to have much snow, at least not on a regular basis. Accumulations like the one in the photo were big occasions.

Whenever there was the prospect of even a few flakes, Dad would say, “I hope it snows axle-deep on a ferris wheel!” I never was sure where the axle was on a Ferris wheel, but it sounded like a lot of snow. Now, though, I don’t think Dad’s as enthusiastic about wintry precipitation as he was back then. At least not this year.

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