Monday 15 February 2016

frost on the window- school bus memories

I am writing this blog on a new devise that I bought because it was such a good price. I bought a Samsung galaxy tab 4 with a 7 inch screen.  Currently I am hating the fact that I can't actually  see  what  I  am typing because  it is hidden  by the keyboard when  I hold it horizontally. So I have to keep it vertical.
The  topic of today's blog is riding a bus to school. I grew up out in the country  which meant that I took  a bus to school and back every day. Because of where we lived, I always (except  for one year) had to walk down  the road to the intersection where  the bus would pick me up. In retrospect it wasn't  terribly  far  but when I was young I felt hard done by and wished to be  like other  kids who were picked up at the end  of their lanes.
Riding  a bus was a normal occurrence for me. There was the usual pecking order  of who got to sit in  the back seats. There was no such  thing  as a seating plan in those days. You sat according  to what grade you were in essentially (or how cool you were, which  I never  was) with  the  big kids at the back and the little kids at the front. If things got too loud, the bus driver  would hit the brakes, pull over, and  blast you with threats of kicking you off the bus and making you walk home. I don't  think  it  ever happened  but there was a healthy respect anyway. 
When I was quite young, before my parents  moved  to the house they built, my bus route included a road that was quite rough and had a few ridges in it (maybe  due to frost heaves or bad road  maintenance?) Our bus driver was a good natured sport who delighted us by hitting those bumps at a pretty good rate of speed. In fact, the kids would start getting ready by bouncing  up and down in their  seats and talking excitedly to each other about  "the bumps." When the driver  hit that sweet spot in the road, kids would fly up in the air and jolt back down, sometimes achieving  remarkable heights! We loved it. I have no doubt drivers would never take the chance of doing something  like  that  now, likely for fear of some irate parent phoning the bus company with a complaint of injury or lack of safety. I'm glad that  we weren't  wrapped in the protective "bubble wrap" that some youngsters experience today. We knew the consequences. If you didn't  want  to fly in the air and smash back into your seat, don't  start bouncing, sit closer to the front, and hang on tight.
When you spend  a daily portion of fourteen years  on  a  bus, you find ways to pass the time. There were no such  things as I pods or cell  phones  in the early 1970's with  which  to  pass the  time. So, you talked to your friends  and played  games  with  toys  you  brought  with  you  for that purpose  or if you didn't  get motion  sick, you read a book or drew pictures. Homework is tough on a bus due to the fact  that writing neatly  while rolling along  over gravel  roads  as well as stopping  and starting  all the time is almost impossible.
Winter time on a school bus presents its  own unique  experiences. First of all, you are already bundled up in multiple layers including snowpants, a hat, and miittens. Picture Randy from "A Christmas  Story" and you have the  idea. You might  be on the bus for five  minutes or forty-five  minutes depending  on where you live on the route. You can get pretty heated  up, especially if you  sit near the heater a few rows back. There would be gradual shedding  of layers as time went on so you didn't  end  up  with  a  sick headache.
On very cold days, with the sweaty little body heat combined with the frigid temperatures outside, you would be delighted to find beautiful  frost patterns on the windows, reminiscent  of feathers  or paisley.

These patterns  were not only beautiful  to look at, but they also provided  us with a canvas. We would  scratch off sections with our fingernails (and no doubt  ate  the resulting mini piles of "snow). We would write our initials  in the frost  or messages with "t i d", "t  i n d" beside  them,  which of course meant "true if destroyed" and "true if not destroyed". 
Another artistic  endeavor  on the  windows  was the creation of footprints in which you used the side  of  your  hand and then your  fingertips  to create a rather convincing  bare foot print.
A Google image of someone who obviously lacks the artistic abilities  we possessed  as children!
School bus floors were usually coated with a slurry of slush, mud, and bits of gravel, or even straw or manure depending on if you wore your boots in the barn or not. The bottoms of our  school  bags, snowpants, and even knees would become soaked with this mixture throughout  the  winter  months. I know my mother washed my snowpants on a regular basis.
Our own children also took the bus to school. Our sixteen year old son still does on the days when he doesn't have some commitment  before or after school. I suspect some of their experiences were similar to my own. Do you have any frosty  window or school bus memories of your own?


  1. Love your bus story. It used to be only country kids rode the bus. then it was kids on the north end of town .I use to make my girls cross the tracks and ride the bus. They said they were not suppose to. I told them if one empty seat went to school it was a waste of tax dollars, get down there and get on that bus. LOL. Now all the kids in town ride the buses, pretty much. The boy next door is 16, but his father says he is riding the bus till he graduates, because he doesn't need to be wasting gas. :) Don't you love that little face looking thru the frosted glass? Blessings, xoxo,Susie

    1. Thanks for the comment, Susie. Do you think there are a lot more bus kids, than kids who walk to school? I also wonder if more parents drive their kids to school, rather than have them walk. Something to ponder. -Jenn

  2. What a great post! So much fun. And so interesting! Takes me waaaaay back to my childhood. Things were indeed so different back then. I grew up in the city and never took the bus because the school was walking distance. For my kids it was different. They both took buses to school.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Martha! I hear you are in for some "weather" today. -Jenn

  3. Firstly top tip for writing on your tablet. Before you finish the first line, hit 'return' about 20 times, then scroll back up. Then you can always see your writing! It took me AGES to figure that out!
    Secondly, frosty Windows - memories from the 70s - except my ice etching was done on my bedroom window!! So cold that they'd ice up on the inside!!!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I am still getting used to this tablet. It is skinny and hard to hold onto. I need a fat case for it. Rachel... that's a cold bedroom! Our kids don't know how good they have it! -Jenn