Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spring Break! Yea!

Virginia Field Park
Calvert, Texas
(1970s)
Snow in Calvert, Texas
Hulda Keeling, Louise Conitz, Augusta Meier ,
snowman and Prince
with 2 unidentified little girls
(the girls look like my sister and me, but this was long before we were born!)
in front of Emil Conitz Sr.'s house
Guynes home in background
(old family photo)
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It's Spring Break here. Yea! (And it started out different from any time that I remember!)
But, wait a minute. I really don't have anything to shout about. It doesn't really affect me anymore. I no longer have to worry about needing a week to catch up on sleep or to recover from the flu, or even to catch up on paperwork from school-or laundry and housecleaning.
The week will be the same, except that the young grandson is home from school all week. The oldest is now involved in the world of work. He just has his usual days off. He will probably want to rest!
Nothing more planned than we usually do on a weekend or holiday-stay at home, watch tv, do laundry,sleep late, kids play video games, and the young one might draw. Maybe we will go for a walk, if it doesn't rain or get cold.
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I only remember one time that we ever went anywhere for Spring Break. We took my aunt down to the middle Texas Gulf Coast (Port Lavaca) for a short trip, then returned via the beach route. That was the closest I ever got to seeing what they talk about in movies and news stories. Lots of lines of cars of kids, cruising the beach in a couple of popular spots. But there was lots of open beach where there was no one, between Surf Side at Freeport and Galveston.
By then, of course, I was too old to be out running around in a bathing suit, chasing boys, dancing and drinking!
We didn't do anything, just drove all day and into the night to hurry and get home! I was not going to drive. I was going to sit back and enjoy my time off from school while my daughter drove. But, of course, that didn't happen and she slept while I drove the whole time! I needed to rest from my vacation, such as it was! Houston had changed so much since the time that I lived in that area and drove that highway to home almost every weekend, that I felt lost until I got about 30 miles from home! It was nerve-wracking, especially in the dark and in a lot of construction on the highway. Couldn't recognize anything. What had been open land was big houses, built close together, and enclosed with high wooden fences.
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Spring Break was also a time to get final preparations finished for the spring art shows for students and for adults in this area. So, sometimes, I might be painting, framing, putting mats on, picking entries, and that sort of thing.
I kind of miss that activity. But not all the work and lack of help ,or interest. The No Pass/No Play rule for schools in Texas just about killed activities for most of my students. I went from showing their work in several car loads, with excitement and enthusiasm, pride, etc. to "who cares anyway", and maybe 3 or 4 half-hearted entries, with maybe a couple that cared. Kids would quit school because they couldn't participate in things they cared about, and felt that they were doing their best already, so it was hopeless to them. Well, I won't get on my soapbox about "the rule" at this time.
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I never heard of Spring Break until my later years of teaching. We had an Easter holiday, sometimes for as long as two days, when I was in school! We had Lincoln's birthday, George Washington's birthday, and such holidays, but not a holiday just to have a break. Holidays had to be to observe something. We heard of colleges, mostly large ones up north, having a break. I thought that was just to get away from the cold weather and snow, and that soon turned into a wild party time. As in the movies.
Of course, we would have loved to have a week off, in college, to party. As it was, we just went home for Easter. And we wondered why we couldn't, somehow, manage to get a week off as some other schools did.
We never dreamed that such a thing was possible in high school. Of course, we would have liked to have had an additional week off, but, for a class that didn't even get to have a prom, a senior trip or a senior play, all we could do is to fume and complain about not getting to do things that students in other schools did. We were expected to go to school, unless we were sick, or we were observing a special historical day. We did have a holiday at Christmas, and a day or two at Thanksgiving. That was enough.
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If it got too cold, we might have a day or two off, as the time that we had a pretty big snow. But that was rare. We just bundled up, took quilts, blankets, or whatever to school, and suffered through a cold day. Our school had 3 floors. The boiler to heat the school was in the basement, where the cafeteria, restrooms, and elementary grades were located. The janitor had the job of keeping that boiler going. (There was no air conditoning for hot weather. Not even a fan!)
Middle school , the auditorium, and the offices were on the second floor. And high school and the library were on the third floor.
People on the first floor were too hot, so they opened the windows. People on the second floor were cold and those on the third floor were freezing!
On those really cold days, we were allowed to wear boy's pants to school, overalls, or whatever would keep us warm. I would wear a set of long underwear from Grandpa's dry goods store, and my Daddy's old A&M uniform, which was wool. I wore thick socks and Daddy's cowboy boots, knitted gloves, a long wool scarf around my neck, and my coat. Then I took a quilt and wrapped up in that in my desk. (I thought I was hot stuff in Daddy's Aggie uniform. Especially since girls were not allowed to go there! And it was warm, too!)
Sometimes, we were allowed to sit together when it was that cold, and share blankets and quilts.
How wonderful it was to have extra warmth from bodies and two or three quilts on top of us!
We didn't get much work done, I guess, but we were there!
Now, I look back and think about the teachers. They couldn't huddle under a blanket, or wear anything other than their dresses and suits. I'll bet they were glad when school was out and they could go home and get warm!
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What was really exciting about this year is that we had real snow here on Friday morning, as everyone rushed off to the last day of school and work before Spring Break. I don't think that has ever happened before!
Of course, it was too warm to stick, but it was there long enough to play in and get some pictures. Covered roof tops, grass, etc., but didn't accumulate in the streets. There were even some big flakes that were really coming down as my crew started off for work and school.
The weatherman had first predicted a possiblity of a few flakes, but that was dropped during the night. I stayed up all night, watching the radar, when I started seeing a little pink strip on the radar, heading toward us, but still 90 miles away. At one point, it looked like it was going to the west and south of us, but, no. There was a tiny blip of pink at the edge of the screen. That soon became a wide band of pin, with white behind it.
About 5 a.m., I gave up as there was only a little light rain outside, and went to bed. But, in an hour, the youngest grandson came into my room. "Wake up, Grandma! It's snowing outside!" I went to the front door and, sure enough, it was all white outside, with big flakes fluttering around. So much for getting any sleep!
That certainly was a memorable event to start our Spring Break!
We had been wishing for snow, for so long! I guess wishes do sometimes come true! (It didn't get the kids out of school early, though!)
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I thought that you might enjoy some snow pictures. Just to remember when we have had snow. These are all old. The camera needed new batteries, so we didn't get any pictures this time. There are lots on the KBTX tv website, though. My sister got some good ones in Calvert, but we couldn't upload those to the computer.

A.E. Conitz Home
Calvert, Texas
1940s snow

Grandma's Side Yard
1940s snow

Browning Street Snow


Happy Spring Break!



1 comment:

Cookie Sunshine said...

What wonderful photos and what an interesting post. It was a pleasure to read.

OWOH was such fun, I'm clicking over to stay in touch and with you goodness.

Hugs,
Cookie Sunshine