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The joy of walking to school

It was sort of strange last week to be talking to a couple of people around town and hear them talk about how winter was finally here.

Yeah, the temperature got all the way down to about -15 overnight for a few days. That’s a real Prince George winter, isn’t it?

I remember when I was in school (many, many, many years ago) we would listen to the radio in the morning to see if the schools were going to be closed because it was too cold. It didn’t happen very often, so we would have to bundle up and head in for another day of learning.

What I do remember, though, is that as far as I can remember there were no regulations for how much snow was enough to close the schools. I remember times when I was slogging through a foot of new snow to get to school (and no, it wasn’t uphill both ways in June).

I realize now I was lucky with where my different schools were. For elementary school, I went to Quinson, which was just down the street from our house. Easy walk and tough to get lost, you would think.

Well, on my first day there, I didn’t come out the same door Mom and I went in at the beginning of the day and wasn’t sure where I was. Although I don’t recall this part, Mom says since I could already read, I just looked at the street signs until I found the one for our street, then came home.

When I moved up to junior high (ask your parents, young ‘uns), I went to Lakewood (where Lac de Bois is now). It was further away but still not ridiculous.

In the winter, my friends and I walked, and in the spring and fall we rode our bikes. Good exercise and it didn’t take long.

For senior high, it was Prince George Senior Secondary School, and yes, that was its name because it was just Grades 11 and 12. It was also the only senior secondary school in the city at that point.

That was a little far to walk each day, but by now some of my friends had their driver’s licences, so I was able to get a ride. I chipped in some gas money every once in a while and everybody was happy.

The one time I did need to figure out another way to get home was when I was scorekeeping volleyball or basketball tournaments, but sometimes I could catch a ride with someone from my neighbourhood, and if I couldn’t, I would call Mom or Dad for a ride.

Times have definitely changed for students, especially since for so many of them right now, they don’t even attend school in person.

The one thing they’ll miss is the chance I had to chat with my friends as we walked or biked or drove to school. Good times.

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