Snow Days? Not for Laura Ingalls Wilder!


A second snow day, while the new year is yet young, reminds this headmaster how tempting it is to take school for granted. Sure, those of us of an older generation remember making our way through blizzards and trudging through nearly insurmountable snowbanks to get to school in the morning. Yeah, of course we did… But for all of our imagined heroics in order to avoid truancy, there are really poignant stories of Americans for whom just getting to school was a real adventure. Laura Ingalls Wilder, for one, reminds us that sometimes fact is as fantastic as fiction.

Take a look at this piece from the Atlantic, in which the author recalls Wilder’s account of her time as a young teacher “plunging and plowing” through snow drifts to open the school for her charges.

Perhaps most remarkable, and amusing, was that Wilder (herself only 15 years old at the time) wasn’t alone in making the arduous trek to school. In fact, when two of her students arrived three minutes (!) late to school, she did not excuse the absence and marked them tardy!

Naturally, we may not expect families to take any unnecessary risks on icy and snowy roads, but we prize the work we do at school just as much Laura Ingalls and her students did. Her story is an inspiration, and any families looking for a good way to spend the snow day might enjoy reading the account for themselves in These Happy Golden Years, one of the beloved Little House series of books.

Douglas Minson