Residence: Chicago, IL
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/19/15
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): none
Informant is a 20 year old college student at the University of Chicago. She is a creative writer, activist, and political science major. She grew up in Highland Park, Illinois with her two parents and two younger brothers.
Informant: “So here in Chicago, we have a thing called snow. It actually gets quite cold if you remember.”
Interviewer: “I remember!”
Informant: “Just wanted to remind you since now you live in sunny, always blue-skied, 70 degree Cali. Anyways, there are times that so much snow accumulates that school is canceled. Not very often, but every now and then. Usually ever year, but sometimes just once every two or three years.”
Interviewer: “I totally remember those! They were the best…”
Informant: “They were! Do you remember what we all used to do in the hopes there would be a snow day?”
Interviewer: “Sort of, but not entirely.”
Informant: “Okay, let me refresh your memory. We would put a spoon under our pillow before going to bed—some people put it under their bed, and some people didn’t put a spoon but a fork—and that was supposed to make a snow day happen. But not just out of the blue. IT had to already be pretty snowy, or supposed to snow heavily.”
Interviewer: “Do you remember who told you to do that? Or who told you that worked?”
Informant: “No specific person that I remember. I think we all just sort of knew to do it. Like everyone talked about it working, or having worked.”
I can’t figure why a spoon was the object placed under one’s bed or one’s pillow to conjure a snow day, but I do remember doing this once in the hopes of a snow day. I can’t say for sure if it was my having placed the spoon under my bed or Mother Nature, but we did in fact have school canceled the next day…
I actually googled the practice and found several articles as well as some other ways to conjure snow days! For more snow day “magic,” see http://www.grandhaventribune.com/article/strange-grand-haven/265096.
The notion of “conjuring up snow days”, talked about in the article, brings to mind Voodoo. It’s fascinating that magic or voodoo was so looked down on for so long, and even to an extent is now in the very hyper-scientific society in which we live, but that it holds such an important role for people. This again speaks to belief, and how strong it is despite changing times or new scientific discoveries.