Snow - Then vs. Now by Andra Gillum

Snow - Then vs. Now      

By:  Andra Gillum

I know I’m getting older when I repeatedly tell my kids how much harder things were back in “my day.”  Take snow for example…..

How about snow days at school?  Although I’m sure it’s not true, I remember getting like one day off per year…and that includes the blizzard of ’78.

When I was in school, we had to wake up and switch on the clock radio to find out if school was closed.  They read school closings in alphabetical order, and I would always tune in about 30 seconds too late.  I went to Dublin schools, for example, but usually turned on my radio just as they were reading Eastmoor.  

These days, we get an automated call by 5:00 AM.  It’s great…until the home phone rings, then my cell phone rings, then my husband’s cell phone rings, then the voice mail alerts start to ring…on so on.  Really, one alert would be fine.

We never called them calamity days either.  Even when school is cancelled, they’re working to expand the kids’ vocabulary.  These common core standards have really raised the bar.  

My kids still love sledding, just like we did.  But, think of how much better the sleds are these days.  Remember those super heavy all-wood toboggans?  My sister and I would always fight to see who would have to lug that beast back up the hill!

These days the plastic sleds are ultra-lightweight and aerodynamic.  Somehow my kids still want me to haul them up the hill... while they sit on the sled!

Kids still like to build snowmen, but the accessories have all changed.  They searched our fridge for a carrot nose, but all they could find were peeled baby carrots.  Not quite the same.  And where would you even find a corn cob pipe these days?  In 2016, Frosty is more likely to smoke a vapor pen.

Back in the day, we never really knew when the snow was coming.  My parents tried to catch the news at 6:00 or 11:00 to get the weather forecast, but the meteorologists weren’t even sure.

These days, you can check your phone, TV or computer 24 hours a day to get the up to the minute forecast.  Standing in front of their Super Doppler Weather Tracker Storm Spotter, today’s meteorologists are like rock stars.  Their fans like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Remember snow tires? We would have to sit in the boring lobby of the tire shop every fall while they installed ours. My kids don’t know how lucky they are to have all-season radials.

Even the snow gear is much better these days.  Remember the big rubber boots that buckled over your shoes?  The kid from Fat Albert wore his year round.  The advantage was that they were big enough to buckle over any size shoe, so they lasted forever.  These days, we crazy parents buy new snow boots every year!

We also had those mittens on a string that wrapped behind our neck until someone discovered that we could strangle ourselves.

And what about the one-piece snowsuits that snapped all the way up?  Not the bib overalls, but the all-in-one coat and pants.  Girls today don’t know what tough is until they try to go to the bathroom in one of those things without dipping their sleeve in the toilet.

Things have certainly changed over the years even when it comes to snow.  I can only imagine what things will be like when my kids are parents.  I am picturing some sort of self-propelled, hovercraft sled that won’t even require a hill…or snow.  But where’s the fun in that?  Here’s to the good old days!

Andra Gillum is a free-lance writer and author.  She lives in Upper Arlington with her husband, two kids and two dogs.  Andra’s columns periodically appear in the Columbus Dispatch.  She is also the author of the children’s book Doggy Drama, and its sequel, Puppy Drama, to be released in late 2016.  Learn more at or contact Andra at