Thursday, February 1, 2024

Throwback Thursday: Snowball Fights Were Allowed Back Then

We anxiously waited for the bell to ring. Anxious for the greatest snowball fight. It wasn’t a modern ring either. It sounded like a giant telephone ringing. Once it rang it echoed throughout the walls of my old elementary school back in late 70’s. The big flaked snow behind the window was falling straight down and it was filling every black void out there. A beautiful winter wonderland was out there waiting for us. It was a view to remember forever and it wasn’t going to last either. “Not tomorrow,” I thought looking out the window. “It would happen very soon; as soon as the bell rings, the view would be stepped on.”

Ring. Ring. Ring. The sound of the loud bell hit our perked up ears.

In an instant we were tripping over our own school bags. In less than a minute we stormed out of our classroom. Luckily no one got hurt or got stepped on. We were a bunch of eight year olds, hungering to get our bodies deep in the snowbanks. We dived for the coatroom which was all the way in the basement. Then we ran through the many racks of coats like an army of mad men knocking some down. I don’t know how we did it all so fast. We only had ten minutes for recess. We were definitely fast.

“Play at your own risk but beware of the consequences, our teachers always told us.”

Finally we stormed out of the school. Oh the fresh air. We were breathing something amazing. We were inhaling the snow. The white falling fluffy flakes were instantly covering our whole bodies and we were turning into snow people. We ran for the open field beside the school. Going back down memory lane, that field was where we stood still in the late spring or early fall and listened to the national anthem during different school occasions. But that day there was no national anthem to keep us still. Our bodies were dancing in the snow. There were screams of happiness and joy dampened by the it. I didn’t hear much. Did I mention, no chaperone!

Just a few minutes since the bell rang and our bodies were already buried deeply in the snow.  And it was not just any snow, it was packing snow. The snow that we could make a snowman with. The snow that we could make into snowballs for a snow fight. Or the snow we could grab big chunks of; whatever we could fit in between our arms. That day we had the best snow fight ever. We were throwing these giant chunks of snow on each other. Everyone around me was my enemy with an occasional helping hand to bring me back to my feet so I could fight them again. It was the best snow fight I ever experienced, and then the dream was over …

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“That was our punishment for the day, soft like the snow.”

We froze for a split second. No it wasn’t the national anthem. We looked like an army of over 100 snow warriors standing still and confused. What just happened? It’s over? We rolled our eyes. And then the same army of us warriors instantly turned in the direction of the school’s door and marched back. Suddenly exhausted. We didn’t run as fast as before. We didn’t bother to shake it off. We ran back rubbing each other side by side. Recess was over, no one got hurt but we were wet. Really wet! As soon as we got inside the warm air melted the last of the snow on our clothes. We didn’t wear snowsuits back then. Our clothing was all cotton and we all wore long johns made of cotton fabric that absorbed the moisture instantly. Did I mention we were very wet!

Play at your own risk but beware of the consequences, our teachers always told us. Snow fights were allowed but if someone got hurt, our clothes got soaked or if we made a mess inside the school then there was definitely punishment. Well, no one got hurt. But we got wet and we made a mess.

We were all ordered to line up in front of the class, now an army of soaked sponges. We stood there and each of us, one by one got a few words of wisdom on responsibility from our teacher. That was our punishment for the day, soft like the snow. I think she knew, the teacher, how can you resist it. But I didn’t like the expectations I was subjected to. I can still hear the comment I received, “I expected that from him but not from you.” Being a straight “A” student wasn’t always that easy, there were expectations I had to live up to. But I didn’t care that day; after all it was like a dream, it was the best ten minute snow fight I ever got to experience.

Sorry folks the snowball fight story didn’t take place in Aurora.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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