Writer’s Workshop: From 80 to 45

Image by Michael Kauer from Pixabay

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.

source: Chicago Park District

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…

11 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: From 80 to 45

  1. Jacksonville was the last city I lived in when I was in FL. Even though, there were some cooler temps there, FL is too hot for me. And the thunder boomers there are scary. Where we live now (close to Atlanta) is ideal, IMO. The weather is pretty mild and has a little of everything to offer. There advantages and disadvantages to any climate and it really depends on one’s personal preference.


    1. We’re close to Sweat Mountain, so we have the same weather. It can get downright hot in summer, and we can get some pretty wild storms, but you’re right, the weather here is not that bad. Compared to Chicago, winter here is quite comfortable, and while we might have temperatures in the 90’s, it rarely hits 100.

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  2. Sounds like where I live because I have been caught in that. I recall, more than once, feeling the heat so, didn’t bring a jacket and having the a/c on. Within a hour, I am coming out of the grocery store, cold and turning the heat on.that comic has it down!


  3. John,

    I went to public school. We did not have a ‘spring break’. Like you, it was Easter vacation and I think we only got Good Friday off. I don’t recall ever getting more than a week off during the school year other than at Christmas. There were the days we got off every quarter while the teachers prepared the report cards and special holidays but that it was it. We don’t see that kind of temperature drops in the Tennessee Valley but has dropped by 20 degrees when a strong system pushes in on us. I would not like living that far north. We have similar problems without snow. One day it’ll be chilly and the next HOT. I beginning to believe spring is a myth. lol


    1. Like Jim Gaffigan said, you spend the entire spring waiting for it to be spring. We’re at the stage where you have the heat on in the morning and air conditioning on in the afternoon.


  4. Florida was quite the opposite. Seasons are all mixed up. Azaleas bloom in December. And the oranges, tangerines and grapefruits all ripen in December. No spring or fall or winter really. Just constant heat.


    1. I’ve been in Miami during the winter, and it can get a little chilly, but not below freezing. Further north, you can get some cold weather, but a lot of those places almost qualify as south Georgia. I would guess the smudge pots get used out in the orchards from time to time.

      I always like the rainstorm that hits Miami at 3:30 every afternoon…

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      1. Oh, yes, Florida can have some cold days, but they do not last long. There is even a rare snow and I have experienced frost in enteral Florida.

        The afternoon thunderstorms are a relief to the heat, but the heat can also cause them to be severe. Every place has its pros and cons.


        1. We get severe storms almost every other week here sometimes. They drift in from Alabama. All the local weathermen get to break out the Doppler radar and figure out where the storms are going to hit next, and the weather radio and all the weather apps on my phone start making noise.

          First time I experienced one of those afternoon thunderstorms in Miami I was training at Dade County Public Schools. I had to shout to be understood, it was so loud.

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