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Day Without a Sunrise


When I was in second grade, there was a day without a dawn.

Youngsters were considered hardy creatures in those days, so in spite of the ink-black skies and sheeting rain, I went to school. The one concession my parents made to my young age was that they drove me. This was remarkable since the school was only one block from our house. On any other morning one could stand at the end of the driveway and see it plainly.

In the classroom our teacher tried to keep us away from windows and endured our nervous jokes about "night school." Trees fell as the storm raged, and we whispered our concerns that we might not get lunch, since the cafeteria was in another building and we were under orders to shelter in place.

We tried to concentrate on our lessons, casting anxious glances toward the bank of classroom windows where it seemed the sun would never come up.

Finally the sky lightened and the downpour became a steady shower, then a drizzle. Our teacher lined us up like good little goslings and we trooped wide-eyed past downed trees charred by lighting to the cafeteria where we were served a distressingly ordinary trayed lunch - eat it all, it's good for you.

Walking home that afternoon, we shared our stories - the tremors created by falling trees, the whimperings of a terrified first-grader, a second-trade boy's discovery that he could generate an electric shock by touching the aquarium.  A fourth-grade girl had felt her hair stand on end when she saw a bolt of lightning twist and crackle as it struck outside her classroom window.

What did we tell our parents about that day? I no longer recall. Most of us, though, made it out to be no big deal. To admit we had been scared might've prompted our parents to shelter us, curtailing the grownup-free adventures we were in the custom of enjoying.

We dealt with our fears in silence.

In my nightmares of that day, my home was always left standing but it was a dark and strange place; habitable but damaged. I've never doubted, though, my ability to weather a storm.

This true recollection was written for Sunday Scribblings .

6 comments:

oldegg said...

What a great account of the storm and your childhood recollections of fear, bravado and of course those lingering nightmares afterward.

April 29, 2012 at 4:04 PM
jaerose said...

This somehow made me feel how ridiculous schooling and protection from grown ups appears to a young mind..why the hell go to school or the leave the house if the sun doesn't rise..and yet we do..literally and metaphorically..adapt or die..simmer down the fear..day after day..year after year..until we are grown up too..powerful piece..Jae

April 30, 2012 at 5:49 AM
Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@jaerose: What I find most remarkable is how different things are now. Schools close or delay opening for storms of that magnitude now. It was a full tornado warning with tornadoes spotted throughout the city.

The parents who today would never send a child to school in such weather, let alone allow the schools to open, are the same kids who sat in that classroom with me that stormy day. Are they more protective of their own youngsters because they've forgotten, or is it because they remember?

April 30, 2012 at 8:41 AM
jaerose said...

Because they remember..i hope..change from remembrance seems more solid somehow..jae

May 1, 2012 at 6:35 AM
Alice Audrey said...

It's that ability to weather a storm that matters.

I remember something similar, but in my case it was the passing of a tornado.

May 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM
zongrik said...

children have a unique way of looking at things

the river


verification makes it really hard to comment. you'd get more comments if you turned it off. i had to do this several times to get it to work.

May 6, 2012 at 12:11 PM