A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 22, 2019
“I used to walk five miles to and from school, uphill both ways” (parent joke)

Parents often say that their kids have it easy. As an example, they sometimes exaggerate how difficult it was for them to walk to school. They walked miles—and it was uphill both ways! The joke has been printed on many images.

“They walked three miles to and from school, uphill both ways” was printed in Tallahasee (FL) Democrat on September 29, 1956. “They live in the past and tell you they walked 12 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways!” was printed in the Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel on February 29, 1968.

“The older a man gets, the farther he had to walk to school as a boy” is a similar joke.


Newspapers.com
29 September 1956, Tallahasee (FL) Democrat, “Parents Misunderstood By Teens” by Miriam Sawyer, pg. 12, col. 3:
“To hear the old folks tell it they had nothing but hard times,” one teenager said. “They walked three miles to and from school, uphill both ways.”

Newspapers.com
29 February 1968, Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel, “Mostly About People” by Wally Trabing, pg. 17, col. 1:
They live in the past and tell you they walked 12 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways!

Newspapers.com
18 July 1971, Today (Cocoa, FL), “Give Kids Hardships TO Brag About” by Ruth Bell Smith, pg. 8D, col. 2:
You know. “When I was your age, I walked two miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways, with my book satchel, my lunch box, and my fat little brother on my back.”

Newspapers.com
23 September 1971, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, “We Must Trap Them On Way” by Leo Aikman, pg. 4-A, col. 6:
Hal Schuman reports on the dad he told his son he walked five miles to school as a youngster, all uphill, both ways.

Newspapers.com
12 November 1971, The Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS), “HEW-ITT to the line” by Purser Hewitt, pg. 20, col. 1:
GENERATION GAP
One reason the youth don’t believe the old folks is the tale told us by a collegian the other day. He insists that his Dad claimed to have walked to and from school when a kid, four miles a day, uphill both ways!

Newspapers.com
29 March 1972, Aiken (SC) Standard, “Here’s Rufus” by Rufus W. Gosnell, pg. 4A, col. 3:
HAL SCHUMAN reports on the dad who told his son he walked five miles to school as a youngster, all uphill, both ways.

Google Books
Delaware School Trivia
By Carole Marsh
Peachtree City, GA: Gallopade
1998
Pg. 50:
Your grandparents probably weren’t joking when they said they had to walk miles to school barefoot and sometimes in the snow. They might have exaggerated if they said they had to hike in 10-feet snowdrifts, uphill both ways and were thankful, but they were at a disadvantage.

Google Books
From the Principal’s Office
By Reginald Gardner
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
2012
Pg. 107:
We have all heard the old timers talk about walking to school in a foot of snow uphill both ways, and though exaggerated, it still wasn’t far from the truth.

Google Books
Generations at Work:
Managing the Clash of Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers in the Workplace

By Ron Zemke, Claire Raines and Bob Filipczak
New York, NY: AMACOM
2013
Pg. ?:
They grew up in hard times. If anyone has earned the right to tell those stories that begin, “I walked three miles to school, uphill both ways through the snow and wind...,” it’s these folks.

Twitter
Howard Roark
@shortwave8669
Replying to @GrahamAllen_1
“We walked 4 miles in the snow, uphill...both ways to and from school...kids these days!”
#LawrenceWelk2020
5:45 PM · Oct 20, 2019·Twitter for Android

Twitter
GayDad76
@jackmorrisontxt
Back in Indiana, we walked to school uphill both ways and took 30 SATs a year.
1:59 AM · Oct 22, 2019·jack morrison quote bot

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • Tuesday, October 22, 2019 • Permalink