Posts Tagged ‘riding the school bus’

The School Bus

Early this morning I had to take my car in to the dealer for scheduled maintenance. As I was driving over there, I passed a number of kids, each at their own driveway, waiting for the school bus.  It reminded me of the days when my sister and I rode the school bus home from school.  We could have ridden it to school in the morning, and we did so on some days but for the most part, my dad drove us to school.  However, after school, we had to ride the bus.  We did our share of walking home.  It was just under two miles in each direction.  Sometimes we walked home because we missed the bus which left about eight minutes after the sixth period bell rang.  If we took too long at our lockers or if we had to stay after to talk to a teacher, then we would miss the bus and we would have to walk home.  At times we chose to “miss the bus” so we could walk home if the weather was particularly wonderful or if we wanted to avoid someone on the bus or walk home with someone in particular.

Our house was the closest that the bus would pick up at.  Actually, there was ours and across the street lived the Powers family who had three girls, one who rode the bus to and from school.  However, the Powers lived on the side of the street that the bus picked up first. We had to wait until it did all its pickups, turned around, and came back down the hill and picked us up.  We were the last ones on the bus in the mornings.  In the afternoons, we were also the last ones off the bus, for the same reason.

Riding the bus was filled with a lot of social pressure and emotions.  First, there was the problem of finding a seat on the bus.  If you weren’t there first, you would end up sitting with someone that no one wanted to sit next to.  In grade school, this was usually Kevin.  Kevin had multiple sclerosis and most of the kids tried to avoid him.  He was my age and in my class.  He was very bright, he just looked different and couldn’t always control what his limbs did.  On days when I was one of the last ones on the bus, I would have to sit with Kevin and while that was okay with me, everyone would make it not okay because they would start laughing and pointing and asking Kevin if I was his girlfriend and prodding him to kiss me!  This was grade school.  I’m sure you know the routine.  At times, it got so bad that Mrs. Cash, the bus driver, would have to come and scold the other kids and make them stop jeering.  Grade school fun.

Later, in high school, it was fun to ride the bus and be the last ones off because it meant that it stalled the time we would arrive home.  Home was not always a place we wanted to be so if we could stall a bit, that was sometimes good.  It also gave us the chance to see where the other kids lived and how they lived.  By high school, Kevin didn’t ride the bus anymore.  By high school, a lot of the kids wanted to come sit next to my sister and I when there was room next to us.  Some would even move to our seats after some of the kids had gotten off.  It was a good feeling to be one of the ones that others wanted to sit next to.

Sometimes, if we had asked ahead, we could get off with one of our friends.  Usually we would have to give Mrs. Cash a note from our mom that said it was okay for us to get off at a different stop.  And sometimes, if we had a friend coming home with us, they got to ride the bus home with us even if they didn’t normally ride it.

By the time I got to eleventh grade, my sister was driving so we didn’t have to ride the bus anymore.  That was sometimes good.  In fact, it was mostly good.  However, sometimes I wished that I could still ride the bus so I could see the color the Krause’s house had been painted or the flowers blooming near the Cunningham’s.  Or how much project had been made on the boat in being built in the yard of the Ericson’s house.

I miss those days.  The school bus.  Friends.  Mrs. Cash.  Kevin.  Being able to visit at others’ houses.  Bringing friends home to our house.   My school bus days are over.  In fact, all those school days are over.  It was fun, even if we didn’t know it when it was happening.

When I go get my car in the morning, I’ll pass a lot of those same kids waiting for the bus and I’ll remember, again, those school bus riding days.

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