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Weather and School Closings

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 407
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:07 pm    Post subject: Weather and School Closings Reply with quote

Itís been a cold and snowy winter on the East Coast this winter (2014-5), like much of the U. S. Here in Central New York, the winter started out relatively slowly. We were spared the early storms that hit Buffalo and Boston; however, as time went on we gradually caught up. It was a February to forget. There was not a single day during the month where the temperature was above freezing. The average temperature was 9 deg F. For 14 of the days, it dropped below zero. We had 23 straight days of snowfall totaling over 5 feet, so we have reached our typical snowfall (10 feet for a season) already. The snow stopped yesterday, the last day of the month, but it is snowing again today with about a half foot predicted by tonight and more snow for every day this coming week.

While Buffalo gets all the publicity for its early snows before Lake Erie freezes over, Syracuse regularly gets the most snow for any city in New York. However, itís not that bad compared to our camp in the Tug Hill area of Upstate NY. They typically get 30 feet or more (over 400 inches in some years). That's why we are snowbirds and come south to Liverpool, NY for the winter.

The schools in the area have used more than their scheduled number of snow days. So it looks like the children will be going to class until late June. Thinking back to my days at St. Paulís School in Concordia, we never had snow days. While we always had our share of sub-zero weather and drifting snow, school never closed because of the weather. There were days when the school buses were unable to pick up children in the rural areas, but those of us who lived in town plodded to school through the snow and cold. When the buses did make it (usually late), some of the children who waited out in the bitter weather were frostbitten when they arrived at school. (They hadnít invented the term wind chill factor yet.) The teachers would take those children to the bathrooms down in the basement and run water over their hands to thaw them out.

In my years at St. Paulís, there was only one time that the school was closed. That was in 1949 when I was in the eighth grade. There was a measles epidemic several weeks before Easter. I broke out with the measles one day before the school closed. (It was the only day I missed in the eight years there.) Because of the epidemic, our confirmation class had Examination Sunday (PrŁfung Sonntag) on the same day as Confirmation, namely Palm Sunday, 1949.
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roger.pape
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 407
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:29 am    Post subject: Staff Reply with quote

I should have mentioned that one of the reasons that St. Paul's Elementary School stayed open through all kinds of weather was how close the teachers lived. Teacher Wukasch only had to go about 100 feet from his home directly across the alley behind school. Teacher Mueller and Teacher Klinkermann lived right across Main Street in the same block. The one that had to travel the farthest was Miss Lulu. The Baepler home was a little over a block away on the north end of Orange St. next to the College campus. The custodian, Gus Holsten, also made it in every morning to fire up the furnace. They were a hardy bunch. I don't remember any of them being out on sick leave.

Of course, St. Paul's Church always had services every Sunday. With the parsonage being next door, Pastor Heilman didn't have far to go. Custodian Henry Kuecker lived only a block away at the corner of 5th and Gordon St. It was tougher for the farm families during those winter storms. My grandfather's farm was only a little over a mile away but he had a long lane down to Old Highway 40 that would drift in often. Dad said that some years the drifts were so bad that it took over a week to clear them away and get to town. I can remember a few years when it was several days before we could get through to visit them. One can imagine how difficult it was for farmers that lived farther away.

Up through the 1940s there were still some rural one-room schoolhouses in the area. I'm not familiar with how they managed to have school during the winter months. (I've heard that some of the students that arrived first would fire up the pot-bellied stove.) There must be a few of you who went to one of those schools and can relate your memories of those days.
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