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Featured Article

Remembering Rainy Days

By: vkimo

...It's raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn't get up in the morning...



Article best enjoyed by plugging in headphones, grabbing a can of Jolt Cola and hitting the "Play" button. Thanks for reading!

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I've always been fascinated by the rain. The pit pattering sound of a million drops of water hitting the roof is so relaxing and has an almost requisite habit of reminding me of my younger days. Whether it's memories of tromping through puddles or just watching the rain come down in sheets as I blankly stared out the window while the teacher lectured us on mathematics, I've come to associate the rain with bygone times and the reason I can't multiply beyond single digits.



Looks like the proper setting for a day indoors, doesn't it?


Mornings



Waking up in the mornings for school was never a great feeling. So when I looked out the window and noticed the plentiful precipitation I got excited. I threw on my cheap moon boots and polyurethane raincoat that had a tendency to make me sweat so much that I would have been dryer going out naked. Rainy days meant I didn't have to walk which was a bonus. My father was a roofer by trade and since working on a roof in the middle of thunderstorm isn't exactly encouraged, he got the day off and would drive my brother and me to school. We would rush down the driveway to the car dodging the dead, swollen worms that plagued the ground and jump in the car. We had a 89 Buick with a vinyl roof and as soon as you got in the sound of water on the roof was amplified tenfold, which juiced me up even more!



Watching the world through a car window is pretty relaxing and always clears my head. On rainy days I would enjoy sitting shotgun and taking in the aftermath of a big storm during the night. Swollen creeks and gushing storm drains were everywhere. I knew already when I got off school I'd make a milk box boat, man it with a plastic army man and send him down the mini rivers that run along the street curbs. My dad was a fun guy and would purposely speed through flooded areas and my brother and I would laugh as both sides of the car erupted with walls of water!



Rainy Day Schedule






Another and possibly the most exciting aspect about wet weather was Rainy Day Schedule. If it was raining at recess or lunch, you took your break inside the classroom. Also for P.E. Class (Physical Education - However I thought it stood for Physical Entertainment) we would have fun indoor games, I'll get that in a bit though. As my dad dropped us off I get out the car and break for my classroom. My memory is reminding me of one morning in particular though. I got to school about 5 minutes late and I hurried in the classroom and sat Indian Style (Native American for PC crowd) on the ground. After several moments I noticed several twisted faces on the kids sitting around me, and the teacher noticed this too and asked what was going on. Turns out some kids said they smelled poop, and I kind of agreed with them. We all took turns checking our shoes ans sure enough I stepped in dog doo and tracked it over the rugs in the classroom. My teacher was livid, the janitor did the best he could. With the rain keeping the doors open wasn't an option either. Oops...



Back to the schedule! Sitting in class next to a large window that ran the length of the room was a real treat. I could easily zone out watching the curtains of rain coming down and imagine myself running through it all. At recess we all remained inside. During this time we could do whatever we wanted which was a real treat because usually the classroom had an uptight vibe. It was the ONLY time you could goof off in class. My teacher would open up one of the closets and we had access to about a dozen board games. These games were pretty beat up and I don't think any of them had all the pieces. My friends and I would race to grab Mouse Trap and experiment with different ways to catch the pesky little critter. We would also play marbles, table football, and even pester the girls if we felt that virile need. Bartering for food was another skill of mine. I could start off with one Oreo and end up with a Lunchables, Ziploc full of pretzels, mini Snickers and a Capri Sun I was that good.



PE time was a real treat. Our PE teacher was a young guy who always came in on his Mountain Bike (Looking back I think he smoked copious amounts of pot) and on rainy days we got access to the Multi Purpose Room which was a huge room with collapsible walls usually reserved for assemblies. We didn't have a gym so this was the next best thing. It was usually a given that we'd be playing Crab Soccer which was basically soccer but you could only move around by having your feet and hands on the floor (Belly up with your hands behind you on the ground)  Sometimes we would play Olly Olly Oxen Free! The game was played when 1 kid would go alone into the classroom with a trinket and hide it, when he was done everyone would come in and try to find it. If you saw it, you would go to your desk and say olly olly oxen free and wait. After a few minutes when every one either gave up or lost interest the teacher would ask where it was and you would tell, then it would be your turn. Heads Up 7 Up was another game we played where 7 kids would stand up while the rest covered their heads and shut their eyes, leaving just their thumb up. Then the 7 kids would go and put down a single thumb. After that the kids with thumbs down would have to guess who of the 7 put their thumb down. I remember one time I was one of the 7 and put down the thumb of a girl I thought was cute. BIG MISTAKE!! I remember everyone guessed who touched their thumbs because it was often the practice to tap the thumb of a close friend. Once it was revealed I tapper her thumb, the kids who had a hard time putting 2 and 2 together literally did it figuratively in an instant. I got teased a lot after that!


                              Jessica Landon, your thumb belongs to me!


Although the school likes to keep kids indoors during the rain, it's not always possible. One year my friends and fellow classmates were walking to the gym (In middle school so we had a gym now) and this involved walking under covered walkways. It was really coming down, it sounded like marbles were being dropped from B52 Bombers onto the tin overhangs. My friends, hooligans all in their own right, started kicking the puddles and soaking each other. Soon a few playful kicks turned into mayhem and we were out in the rain going wild. It's an act few adults can ever indulge in, but running around in the rain for the express purpose of getting drenched is exhilarating! I remember walking to a gutter by the gym that could have been Niagara Falls and stepped directly beneath it. I was pummeled with water and stepped out quickly. I definitely regretted that move, I was dripping and had to change into my gym clothes for the remainder of the day. 


You'll itch like heck later, but you only live once!

After School


When school got out, that didn't mean the day was over! As I mentioned before, when it rained, my dad couldn't work. Sometimes we would go on long walks. One time, I must have been 4 or 5 years old and we went on a long walk through town. It looked to be clearing up so we didn't dress heavy. However about midway back the sky darkened and the clouds closed back up and it started coming down something awful! My brother and I weren't dressed for wet weather so my dad had to improvise. I'll never forget this and probably recite it in geriatric stupor when I'm older. My dad went into the Salvation Army thrift store and asked for 6 bags. Two of the bags were huge plastic bags which he poked holes in at the neck and arms which we wore like ponchos. Then he took standard paper grocery style bags and folded them into makeshift sailor hats, which he THEN covered with small plastic bags to make them shed rain. The details are fuzzy now but I'm sure my brother and I looked like bizarre homeless kids. I was a kid though and my ego was shielded by the magic of youthful innocence. I probably thought I looked awesome. We made it home dry though, and that's what matters!


Where were you....when I NEEDED YOU?!


After getting home, sometimes we were treated to the coolest rain induced phenomena: POWER OUTAGE! They usually only lasted a few hours but it always fun. No TV or video games and in a time before cell phones it forced people to occupy themselves Little House on the Prairie style. My mom would light candles and set them up in a few spots. I had a few toys that lit up which I played with. One I remember distinctly was my X-Men Cyclops action figure. He had a switch on the back and his eyes would light up. When I got bored with that I would grab my GameBoy, a candle, and look for a cozy nook in the house and play Tetris by candlelight. We had a psycho cat who thrived in the darkness and would love to stalk and pounce our heels as we fumbled blindly down the hallway. It was good fun. I even remember a few times when the power went out while we were shopping, the whole store went pitch black but for just a few seconds. It was always great fun and even today it can be a good detox from today's technoology. A few years back when Hurricane Sandy hit  we were out of power for almost a week. Having a solar powered radio and a generator made all the difference!



But you can cry when the batteries die, or swap with the remote, no one will notice.


I could write ten more articles about my memories involving rain. I'd love to leave the comments section to you and your memories. Any memorable blackouts? What was your school like during severe weather? Thanks again for reading!

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DirtyD79 Posted on Apr 30, 2016 at 10:54 AM

I've always liked rainy days. I remember this one house where we lived anytime there was a decent storm the power would go out which kind of sucked but storms have always fascinated me. While reading this article I mentally pictured Here Comes The Rain by The Cult playing.

retro90sboy Posted on Oct 15, 2014 at 06:22 PM

i used to spend my rainy dayys just watchin cartoons

DoctorRyan Posted on May 21, 2014 at 05:33 PM

I have always loved rainy days, even as an adult. Those were my "gaming days" when I would fire up my NES for some 8-bit action. Today it's games like Baldur's Gate and Diablo II. I guess that's another thing I brought from my childhood.

MissM Posted on Feb 18, 2014 at 07:49 AM

This was a nice article. I liked the sounds of rain playing as I read. Thanks for sharing these memories! Rainy days were always fun and special. Occasionally if the time permitted, my mom would bake chocolate chip cookies when it was raining out. Always fun for a rainy day.

Fulton4V Posted on Feb 02, 2014 at 03:30 AM

I spent most rainy days hoping that the water would flood our road so I didnt have to go to school the next day. The bus could not come throuh the water when it was too high.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 07:10 PM

Forts, tunnels, "trampolines"... all great couch cushion creations. Occasionally they became "buildings" for my sister and I to destroy Godzilla style (complete with a rolled up blanket tucked into the back of my pants as a "tail"). They also make great "chairs" to hit opponents with when you're "wrestling". lol

vkimo Posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 06:44 PM

Man, I totally forgot about building forts! Couch forts were also a big staple of rainy days. My brother and I would take all the large couch cushions and drape sheets over them and bring all our toys in.

pikachulover Posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 06:11 PM

Angelinos can't deal with rain! No really we can't. All that stuff they make fun of on tv about people not handling the rain is true. The news coverage is funny too. It's usually called something like "Stormwatch (and the year number)". The schools aren't built for rain around here. The junior high I went to didn't have an indoor cafeteria or gym. It makes you hearty to spend at least 40 minutes in a wooden patio covered area. Then you would shiver at P.E. Strangely enough the streets don't drain that well either. Even if they do go directly into the ocean.

I remember the particularly rainy winters of 91-93, and in 97/98 (an el nino year)and in 2004. I think I went insane during those winters. In 2004 it was hard because I went to this college that had bad irrigation. You'd have to wade through water just to get to your classes.

ThatDudeintheHoodie Posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 04:38 PM

Rainy days were something that I will never forget as a kid. It was usually fun to be inside every once in a while. I never liked getting wet when I didn't want to. But I enjoyed the rain enough to like it every once in a while. It's nice though living where there is a really big rainy season and looking outside from my desk at my job watching the rain fall.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 30, 2014 at 04:20 PM

Ahhh... you really know how to bring out the nostalgia in a reader. Yes, rainy days COULD be fun. To be honest, I don't remember much about what we would typically do during elementary school recesses that were rained out. If I'm not mistaken, we would hang out in class or the gym. This was not nearly as fun as being outside (and under less focused supervision).

Yet, rainy days did have a special quality about them. For me, it forced me to draw more on my inner creativity... creating new ways to enjoy my toys or new ideas for crafting or drawing things that interested me. Everything from forts in the garage made of refrigerator boxes (my family owned a furniture store until the mid-90's) to robots made with cardboard, construction paper, markers, and tape.

I didn't particularly like playing IN the rain though. However, it did provide some neat chances to create mini landscapes for my toys to live in... landscapes with "ponds" and "rivers".

This was a great article. Thanks for this vkimo!!!

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