Boy it’s sure wet outside

02/26/19 - posted by Paul Judge

Wet, wet, wet this winter is just as I remember 'em as a kid back 60 years ago. Walking in the rain to and from school at St. Thomas the Apostle I was outfitted with the standard for the times — a yellow slicker and pair of black rubber rain boots that buckled with metal slip clips. My dad let me wear his old black Sou’wester oil skin hat from his days crewing aboard a merchant ship on South America runs. The hat was too big for me but I cinched it up tight. Oh man did the classroom cloak room smell damp and dank. If the lunch bag got wet then the sandwich was eaten soggy at ones desk while the rain beat against windows and puddled the play yard. Playing the lunchtime indoor game of 7-Up was mastered when with head down on the desk one peeked at the shoes of the person tagging your finger to be easily identified. Tins of crayons were passed down the row to color handout sheets or identify countries on geography pages. 'Rainy Day' dismissal allowed early escape to wander homeward on Balboa Street splashing through sidewalk puddles and diverting streams of curbside water flowing toward corner sewer grates. Other amusement included ducking into Royal Merchandise to survey their toy confections or entering Clancy’s market fingering pockets for pennies to buy gum, a wax paper of Dots, a Tootsie Roll or wax lips to chew on. If an errant pop bottle could be scrounged then the deposit traded allowed for a larger purchase such as Snickers or 3 Musketeers chocolate bar. Warnock’s drug store offered a rack of comic books to anticipate for later purchase. At home the rain gear was hung to dry in the basement garage. Metal roller skates were fitted on to skate along lanes chalked the length of the empty garage. Upstairs, bargaining that homework would be attended to ‘later’, Skipper Sedley or Captain Satellite would be turned on to watch Popeye cartoons and an episode or two of the Three Stooges. Mom’s dinner makings would scent through the entire house. Older siblings would come home from Presentation High or jobs downtown at Bethlehem Steel and the Telephone Company. Dad would pull up from his work on the waterfront and one of us would hop down to open the garage doors so he could roll the Plymouth inside. Local TV news broadcast word and images of creeks and rivers reaching or exceeding flood stage and inevitably someone was shown rowing a boat past the rooftops of autos flooded along a rural roadway. Rain and wind continued to tattoo the windows. If the gale heightened that night I’d lay in my sunroom bed feeling the room swaying and hoping the posts braced to support it held in place. Those winter storms of childhood memory seemed to last for days and days.

Here are a few ‘blasts from the past’ from the Message Board.

Rainy Day Pics
http://www.outsidelands.org/cgi-bin/mboard/stories2/thread.cgi?2900,0#msgtitle

Coldest Winters
http://www.outsidelands.org/cgi-bin/mboard/stories2/thread.cgi?767,0#msgtitle

Sunset has the best weather???
http://www.outsidelands.org/cgi-bin/mboard/stories2/thread.cgi?1056,0#msgtitle

Has San Francisco Weather Changed?
http://www.outsidelands.org/cgi-bin/mboard/stories2/thread.cgi?491,0#msgtitle

Great Snowstorm of 1962
http://www.outsidelands.org/cgi-bin/mboard/stories2/thread.cgi?511,0#msgtitle

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