Back in the ’60’s and ’70’s, “spring break” didn’t have the significance that it apparently has today, at least not when you were a kid in grade school. We never went anywhere or did anything when we had our spring break, which, since we went to a Catholic school, was called “Easter Vacation.” We didn’t even get a full week off: Easter vacation started after an all-school Mass at 11 AM on Holy Thursday, and we would be expected to be back in our seats the Wednesday after. Even if we got a full week off, it probably wouldn’t matter, because Mom, who taught in the public schools, never had her spring vacation when we did. So, Easter/spring vacation usually involved hanging around the neighborhood and trying to stay out of trouble.
(I remember, in 1968, we were talking about taking a trip to Washington, DC in the spring to see the cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, before we could go, Martin Luther King was assassinated, and Washington was not an especially good place to be. There went that idea. To be honest, I don’t remember Mom putting a whole lot of time and effort into planning such a trip, so Mom was probably just spitballing. I did get to Washington, eventually, when I was 40.)
Weather was always a consideration when we had Easter vacation, because, well, it was Chicago, and just because the calendar says that spring starts on March 21 doesn’t necessarily mean that the weather is anything like spring when that day rolls around. Jim Gaffigan (who grew up in Chesterton, Indiana, almost close enough to be considered a suburb of Chicago) has the best observation on spring:
This one day was just about perfect: sun shining, almost 80 degrees (27 C). A bunch of us decided to meet at Loyola Park and play some baseball. Keep in mind that Loyola Park was about a mile north of Loyola University, so it was a little more than a mile walk for me, but it was a nice day and I liked to walk, so I went and met my friends.
We had been out there a couple of hours when suddenly the skies got cloudy and a strong, freezing cold wind blew out of the north. None of us bothered to wear a jacket (I mean really, who wears a jacket when it’s 80 degrees?), so we all took off for home in a hurry. And more the wind blew, the colder it got, and the colder it got, the more we hurried. By the time I got home and turned on the radio, it was 45 degrees (7 C). That’s a healthy temperature drop.
Fortunately, none of us got sick after that…