During the height of the Blizzard of ’15, as Portland was nearing its 2-foot snowfall total, a friend who lives in New York City (8 inches of snow, probably all melted by now) sent me a text message. He cautioned that I should not break my back shoveling and instead should hire some kids to shovel at my house.

What a quaint, Norman Rockwell image! Gangs of kids walking up and down the street hoping to be hired by neighbors to do some shoveling.

Growing up in my neighborhood in Portland in the 1960s, we did that – $2 for a front porch and walkway; $5 for a driveway. We would have charged more for the new quarter-mile long driveways at today’s “McMansions” on three-acre lots, but there were none of those in Libbytown.

We were the kids of parents who lived through the Great Depression and worse. We were happy to do some shoveling for a few bucks.

It seems that today’s kids, born into baby boomer and post-baby boomer affluence, will have none of it. Instead of roaming around looking for shoveling jobs, they were probably all on their way to Starbucks, hoping that the city sidewalk plows had cleared the way to the door so they could order their double lattes and macchiatos (whatever those are).

So, alas, there were no would-be shoveling squads to be hired in my neighborhood. But my friend from New York need not have worried. All that shoveling in the ’60s gave us aging baby boomers strong backs!

David Warren

Portland