walking to school

The snow piled on top of the ice that had formed over night.  The white powder blanketed everything as the flurry raged on.  White out conditions.  No rational person would venture into such a blizzard.  But, children were held to higher standards as they were ushered out front doors to trudge to school.

His boots crunched through the layers built upon layers.  Every step was a struggle as the snow tried to suck him down into its depths.  He kept waiting to pull his foot up and find that his shoe had fallen victim to the grasping ground.  His arms at his side for balance, he wished desperately to plunge his frozen hands deep into his jacket pockets.  The chill of the morning had no problem biting deep through his gloves to feast on the meat and bones of his fingers.

Hills spread across his field of vision.  He was in a valley and every direction he looked was uphill.  His legs ached from the exertion.  His mind reeled from fatigue.  He had a thousand vivid flashes of the snow cascading down and burying him.  With every step forward, every step up, he morbidly welcomed such a fate a little more.  It would mean rest.  It would mean an end to the absurdity of his trek back and forth to school.

The snow held, though, and he traversed the hills successfully to arrive safely at the little brick school house.  He stomped his feet on the landing to break off the ice crystals that had gathered halfway up his legs, pulled the stocking cap from his head and brushed off the snow that had begun to gather there, and then pushed into the door with a happy sigh as he was buffeted by a warm gust of air.


Charles woke with a start, momentarily confused by the darkness around him, and in a panic, he clutched the sheets tight across his chest.  His eyes adjusted, his mind joined the present, and he realized he was in his room and had been dreaming, an old man’s dream.  The pain of the cold remained, and he massaged the ache from his limbs and snorted at the absurdity of the whole mess.  Never in his 82 years had he been forced to walk through deep snow to school or on any other errand.  He’d always lived near the beach.


Word Count: 395

It is silly.  It is Tuesday.  It must be another Inspiration Monday prompt response.  I never heard any stories like this from my parents or grandparents growing up.  But, the idea of them is so prevalent that it was the first thing I thought of for the prompt I chose:


The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:


What about you?  Did your parents ever do the “you kids have it so good now” kind of stories?  What was the farthest fetched out of them?

30 thoughts on “walking to school

  1. “When I was young, I had to walk ten miles to school, in the snow, uphill both ways.” Isn’t that the story we all know. This is a great telling. Vivid details. I was there trudging with Charles!

    • Yep, that’s the one.
      Hopefully you were trudging along with him from the comfort of a climate controlled room, perhaps with a warm beverage wrapped up in your hands.

      • Yes, I’m quite comfortable indoors and finishing up my cup of coffee. But soon the day’s chores will start, and I’ll be trudging (read driving) out in the driving rain of another Pineapple Express. Now there’s a story to tell them young whippersnappers.

  2. I remember reading a story in elementary school about a boy who had to walk to school in the snow, and his pet goat was able to lead him there successfully. This reminded me of that.

  3. You had me going there for a minute. I was thinking that the ache in his old bones made him dream of his childhood, in Alaska, maybe.

  4. Nice twist!

    The kid will actually be able to say he had to walk in the snow. About 1/3 of a mile, all flat. I guess he can add having to cross the road to the story to embellish it some to his kids or grandkids.

    • It was a giant road! 8 lanes both directions, and despite the treacherous conditions it was packed with cars, all driving 80 miles per hour and swerving to try and hit us kids as we raced across.
      Good times. Those were the days.

    • It’s all a matter of perspective. After spending five days on a mountain, the cold doesn’t seem as bad as it did the first day. That was one of the lessons I learned snowboarding in CO a few years ago. The final day we were there it was -14 when we got up to head to the slopes. We didn’t even blink… seemed plenty warm to us at the time.

  5. My parents tried their “so hard stories” on me, but it didn’t work because I had my own – in Grade 2 we lived a mile from the school & I had to walk each way, no matter the weather. And there was some pretty awful weather, believe me! This was long before parents jumped in & drove their kids everywhere!

  6. Best version of “uphill both ways” I’ve ever heard/read! I love the part about the cold biting at his meat and bones. And a lovely little chuckle at the end.

  7. I like how you turned the pain from the dream into another kind of pain when he woke – isn’t that so often how dreams work? And like others, I see your embellishment of the parent / grandparent’s story about walking to school, uphill both ways!
    I think I’d have held back on admitting it was a walk to school a bit longer – built up the images and impressions first and then turned it into a little kid (and then the old man), but that’s just me

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