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Dusting Off: the Snow-Day Radio Roll Call


As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, trends and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off the snow-day roll call.

If you were in grade school before the internet era, you might remember a certain pre-dawn ritual for days like this. We’re thinking of a radio and a seemingly unending list of snow-bound school districts…

Unless you heard your school on the list, you had a bus to catch. Unfortunately, the names were fast and if you missed your school, you’d have to wait another five minutes for the whole thing to repeat—making for one of the more dramatic radio broadcasts since Orson Welles.

These days it’s as simple as checking a website—the kind of thing parents can do before kids even wake up—but in exchange the kids are missing out on a rare kind of direct cultural experience. Sure, the new way’s faster, more accurate and better in pretty much every way…but we can’t help missing the static-y drone of our youth. Nothing brings people together like wanting the same piece of information, growing more and more impatient, for minutes on end. It’s a kind of frustration we’re not likely to feel again—at least until our Wifi stops working.