Wisconsin in winter. Need I say more?
It was cold, the snow was deep and girls were expected to appear in class in their lovely skirts and fragile pantyhose. The skirts meant that legs never warmed up in the frigid, marble halls of our nearly new high school.
Finally a teacher, who was lucky enough to drive to school, took pity on the girls and decreed that they could wear a garment called snow pants to school. But they had to change into skirts as soon as they arrived. They were inspected to see that they had changed into their skirts and were not wearing their snow pants underneath.
The snow pants were heavy, lined with flannel, tight around the ankles and ugly as sin. They covered the legs, which the teenage girls considered their best feature.
The school year dragged on, and the girls continued to carry their skirts to school and change into them for their classes. After school, they had to change back into their warm snow pants for the cold walk home. (There were no school buses in 1934.)
One day I was nearly to school when I realized that I had forgotten to bring my skirt. I didn’t have time to go back and get it.
So I threw myself on the mercy of my teacher and got permission to wear my snow pants for the rest of the day. I promised to remember my skirt the next day and appear in my classes suitably clad.
The next day I wore my pants to school, and changed into my skirt. So far so good.
Two days later, temptation overcame me. I dreaded the cold classrooms and hallways of the school where I could wear only filmy, sheer, knit nylons to cover my legs. The devil whispered in my ear, forget your skirt — you will get permission to wear your snow pants again.
That’s what I did. And that’s what happened.
So for several days, I forgot my skirt and was warm and cozy on the way to school, in classes, and on the way home. I had it made.
Suddenly, my idyll came to an end. The loud, angry voice of our beloved principal boomed over the public address system, “Hilda Risley, report to my office at once.”
The jig was up. I had been caught fair and square.
I went to the principal’s office, scared silly. He towered over me at 6’5”.
He frowned at me and in his big, deep voice he said, “Young lady, you have been blatantly ignoring the rules of this school. And if it weren‘t the coldest day in history, I would punish you. But this time I will let you go. However, you must promise that you will never ignore the rules again.”
I promised and we said goodbye. Crisis over.
I went back to my legs freezing in class .