Archives For snow days

Celebrity Interview

February 28, 2014 — 2 Comments

Hey, everybody! Just because it’s Friday, and just because everybody’s worn slick by Winter 2013-14 (and there’s more wintry weather in the forecast), and just because we like you guys…

Today’s post is a Celebrity Interview!

But who?

One of the royals, perhaps?

kate middleton

A star of stage or screen?

tom hanksanne hathaway

An outstanding professional athlete?

lebron james

Or maybe someone off the Billboard charts?


Nope. None of the above.

We were fortunate enough to engage someone much more relevant to you, the faithful readership of Zero to Sixty in Five!

Today’s Celebrity Interview is with that Star of the PTA Stage, the Queen of Loveliness, the Slam Dunk Winner of the Oatmeal Brigade, and the “author” of the Author!

None other than…

[drum roll…]

Mary Anne!

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When we contacted the mother of Zero to Sixty’s Blogsmith in Residence regarding an interview, she graciously agreed to answer our questions. She wasn’t sure she’d remember all that much, but would give it her best shot. Any concern that she wouldn’t remember enough to provide a good interview was unfounded: she waxed eloquent on topics across a spectrum.

So, without further ado…

ZTSIF: It must have been a challenge to get a family of seven off to work and school. What was your typical morning routine?

Mary Anne: Well, you get up — when you don’t want to. (Laughs). I’ve never been a “it’s-fun-to-get-up” kind of person. But once my feet hit the floor, I was awake. I’m just glad I had kids before snooze buttons on alarm clocks!

Then I probably headed downstairs to make coffee and — this was before microwaves — get some water on the stove for a pot of oatmeal. Then I would begin waking kids. Some were easy to wake up, some weren’t. I remember you as being easy to wake, right?

ZTSIF: I think so. Until high school.

Mary Anne: The kids didn’t eat breakfast all at the same time because time in the bathroom was staggered. I can’t remember what I fixed on school days other than oatmeal. If I had eggs, I usually scrambled them. And toast. I served biscuits mostly at dinner. You know, the big deal was eating dinner together.

ZTSIF: How did you learn about school cancellations on snow days?

Mary Anne: I don’t really remember. Did we have any snow days? Do you remember any?

ZTSIF: No, not really.

Mary Anne: I’m not sure they cancelled school very often because of snow. You know, people didn’t just walk into their attached garages and get in a car and never have to walk in the snow. Everyone had galoshes and you were expected to get out in it and walk. But I’m thinking there must have been some snow days. We probably listened to the radio for cancellations.

ZTSIF: October 2013’s post “Crime and Punishment” makes a reference to the popular child rearing guide, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care”. What was your reaction to Dr. Spock’s advice? Did your pediatrician recommend the book?

Mary Anne: No, our doctor didn’t recommend it. I don’t think I ever read the whole book, probably only excerpts in magazines. But I didn’t like it. He didn’t believe in disciplining children, and I always believed children should be disciplined.

I always enjoyed being a mommy. There were just so many things to do with children. You could study dinosaurs together (even though I didn’t really like dinosaurs all that much) to help your child do well on a school project. Or you could turn an orange crate on its end and find enough empty food containers to set up a little grocery store. Or you could sit everyone around the table and give each of them a needle with a different color thread and have them sew “X”es on the toes of their socks so they could be sorted easily when the laundry was done. There was always something to do together. Remember the winter party decorations when we put the pipe cleaner figurines on top of the little mirror “lake” and sprinkled fake snow all around it on the table?

Years later, when I was working outside the home, it would always make me feel sad when I heard women come in to work and say, “I’m so glad it’s Monday so I can get away from the kids for a while.”

ZTSIF: Do you remember the incident with the Brach’s candy display and making a certain young shoplifter go back into the store and return the candies?

Mary Anne: Vaguely. I knew that it needed to be a lesson. I’m glad you learned from it. That’s not anything you want to fool around with.

ZTSIF: The post “The Porch, Then and Now” (October 2013) describes the front porch on your home in Indianapolis. Talk to us about front porches.

Mary Anne: Before air conditioning, people sat on their front porches. If you had a spare moment, you headed for the porch. You got to know your neighbors, you said hello to people who passed by — it was just friendlier.

It was air conditioning that made the difference — everybody went inside. People started using decks — more for picnics and parties, maybe. I think people probably did more relaxing on porches than they do now on decks.

ZTSIF: Tell us about the accident to the porch.

Mary Anne: Two young guys — high school age — completely lost control of their car and ran it right up into the yard and into the corner of the brick porch. Your dad and brothers were gone — together, I think. It was a spring or summer mid-afternoon and you had just been outside playing about a half hour earlier. You could have really been hurt, and I was maybe rattled for a couple of days, but not too long. Life goes on. Fear didn’t grip people like it does today.

ZTSIF: Zero to Sixty in Five has portrayed you as someone who loved dressing nicely and accessorizing. Do you remember the orange corduroy dress mentioned in “The Queen and the Groupie” (September 2013)?

Mary Anne: Yes. I liked it. I can’t remember where I got it — your dad might have bought it for me. I always felt sharp in it. Which is funny, because I don’t really like orange. Which makes me think your dad probably did get it. A few years later I went to apply for a job, and I wore it. For some reason a photo was taken, either before I got the job or after, and I’m wearing that dress in it. I could probably find that picture.

Your dad also bought me a black and white plaid taffeta hostess gown. It was really meant for a woman entertaining in finer surroundings than we had, but he always enjoyed me looking good. Even when I was in my 70’s, he’d look at catalogs and pick out pretty things for me. He really enjoyed doing it.

ZTSIF: What were your thoughts while washing, combing, curling, or braiding your daughter’s hair?

Mary Anne: I know the reasons I did it: I wanted you to look cute; plus you were an extension of me, and our family, and I wanted you to look nice. But what I was thinking about while I was doing it? (Laughs.) Probably what I was going to do next! Or wondering what your younger sister might be getting into while we were doing that! There was always a lot going on in a house with that many kids.

ZTSIF: Well, it’s been a delightful interview. The management and staff at Zero to Sixty in Five thanks you for your willingness to share your reminiscences with our readership and we wish you a very pleasant evening.

(G’night, Mom!)


Number three son stopped by the house last night. He mentioned visiting my blog earlier in the day and liking 10 Awesome Things About Being a Kid, as well as its follow up, 10 Awesome Things: A Response.

“But you should have added snow days. You know — how when you’re a kid, snow days are just awesome?”

I agreed: snow days are pretty awesome when you’re a kid.

“I mean, think about it: you don’t have to go to school, you get to drink hot chocolate and play outside in the snow! It’s just cool!

“Yep,” I nodded.

“But…,” he went on, “when you’re an adult, snow days are totally different. You’ve got the driveway and sidewalks to shovel, vehicles to clear off, then driving through the stuff to go to work or school, or whatever. You don’t get to stay home. Definitely not the same experience.”

True, true.

After he left, I started to  reminisce about snow days when I was a kid.

Ah, yes. All one of them.

Seriously. I can only remember one. And I’m not even sure it was a snow day. I can’t actually recall anyone saying “snow day” or “school is closed”. But all the neighborhood kids were home too, and I don’t remember Dad being home, which is a good indicator it was a week day, not the weekend. But who knows.

What I do remember was the big ordeal that it was to gather all the sweaters, coats, gloves, mufflers, scarves, earmuffs, caps, extra pants, extra socks, boots, etc. One by one, Mom helped stuff us into all that gear — like little sausages — and then closed the back door behind us as we waddled down the steps and out into the winter wonderland.

Oh, the feel of snowflakes landing on the nose and cheeks! The “clouds” that appeared with each warm exhale! (“Look, look! I’m smoking!) The layers upon layers of frosty white wonderfulness that bid us frolic!

We made snow angels and a snowman. (Knock, knock, knock… Mom, can we have a carrot for a nose?) Then my brother suggested we build a fort behind which we could stockpile an obscene supply of snowballs and create for ourselves an impenetrable defense against a heavy enemy attack. We slaved away, building and stockpiling. I pitied the fool who might mindlessly wander within our range.

Once we finished, we huddled behind our barricade and waited. And waited. And waited some more. No one came. I guess the other kids were huddled in their own forts, waiting for us to stumble along.

We got cold. But we stuck it out and waited some more. After all, we had built a totally imposing fort which was worth holding out to defend. And we definitely had the ammo. But eventually, our fingers would threaten to become icicles and drive us indoors. Without having thrown hardly a snowball, as I recall. Sigh.

Mom spread out layers of newspaper in the mudroom to handle the mound of soggy outerwear. Then we changed into2292 warm, dry clothes and had something hot to eat — Campbell’s chicken noodle soup being pretty standard fare back in the day. I honestly don’t remember if we went back outside that day or not. But I do have a hazy recollection that it took way more than a few days for the fort to melt. Heh heh.

Fast forward to snow days as an adult. (I can even remember more than just one!)

There have been a few snow days due to blizzard conditions or icy conditions, during which no one — kid or adult — ventured outside. But there have also been plenty of snow days that pretty much followed the same pattern as that snow day of my childhood: Mom helping kids locate coats, gloves, mufflers, ski masks, long johns, snow pants, boots, etc.; stuffing the sausage casings; scuttling them out the back door; then sitting down with a mug of coffee and a magazine, only to have them knocking on the back door minutes later. These gloves have a hole in them… Can we make snow cones? We need a carrot for our snowman…

During the process, I generally made an attempt to press a measure of snow removal service from the kids while they played. As they got older it became a badge of honor to get the entire driveway cleared before Dad came home.

And invariably, in about an hour, the gang would be back inside, all changed into cozy sweats, wet duds tumbling in the dryer. I’d make hot cocoa (but never seemed to have those little marshmallows on hand — drat!) and they’d settle in for some reruns, a movie, or a board game.

Yup. Snow days are pretty awesome when you’re a kid.


Click on the pic… there’s a smile frozen on my face…