mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF heroic and hapless

Freezing in a skirt and bobby socks

It is cold. I'm remembering my "cold" stories — fishing when it was 20 degrees, scuba diving on a freezing October night in the St. Lawrence River, cross-country skiing in the Adirondacks at 30 below zero.

My heroic days. Nice little stories to bore my caregivers with some day.

But today — with my silk longjohns on under my heavy sweatpants — I'm remembering humbler, but no less brutal times: winter walks in a school uniform skirt and bobby socks. Bare legs against the winds of Midwestern winters. Were we all insane? Didn't anyone have mercy on our girlish chapped thighs?

In high school I did get lots of rides home with my dad or grand-dad. And in the later years, I would catch the nearby Lindell bus downtown, to be with my pals, then transfer to the Lindenwood home. Long, but congenial.

But the actual Lindenwood bus stop was a good mile's hike from school to Grand and Market. I walked that route many a day, especially in my freshman year. Man, that was a windy walk in a skirt and bobby socks! But there were school rules against wearing tights and against wearing pants. And rules are rules.

I don't remember whining about it. I don't remember my mother fussing over it. It simply was.