Waiting … hoping school would close

To all the young folk out there, your old pal Bill has an admission to make.

When people my age talk about walking to school uphill both ways in the snow, we’re lying.

Walking was only a last resort when the chains on the tires of the school bus wouldn’t suffice and there weren’t enough wooly mammoths to go around.

Because we never canceled school for snow.


Still, we could dream.

When we got a snowstorm, we’d find out if school was on schedule, an hour late, two hours late or closed (except school never closed, remember?) by clicking on the radio.

In those days, unless you had a portable radio, the stereos came in two sizes — giant and two-person lift.

Once you clicked the dial and turned the knob to make sure the frequency was just right, Don Weeks, the genial voice of God mornings on 810 WGY, would read through the school closings and delays.

WGY covered a huge area around Albany, and it was a selling point that they had the most-comprehensive listings, so children from all around would half get ready as they hoped to hear their school’s name.

The listings were alphabetical by county, and then alphabetical within each county, so for kids in Schoharie schools in Schoharie County, it meant a long wait.

We’d listen for other schools to see if there was any kind of a thread, but there was one school we listened for more than any other.


I grew up about a mile from the line separating the Schoharie and BKW districts, but it wasn’t just the district line, it was the county line … the Albany County line.

Yes, Berne-Knox-Westerlo was in Albany County, making it an early district in an early county.

Didn’t matter, though, because we never closed. We’d eventually shuffle off to school, wondering why other kids got to stay home.

(By the way, no one my age who grew up in upstate New York will ever admit their school ever closed.)

Now, school closing are announced on Twitter and Instagram, on a website or on a continuous scroll at the bottom of a TV screen.

Is it better, more informative and efficient? Of course it is.

But it can’t be the same.

Of course, what do I know? School never closed when we were growing up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s