Friday, March 28, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 28 - The Stupid Smelly Bus

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge. I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.

 This picture was taken when I was in first grade.  I have very similar ones of both my daughters.  I remember feeling much excitement about getting on the bus when I started school.  It seemed so grown-up!  My bus driver in my elementary years was Mr. Shutte.  He was the father of one of my mom and dad's good friend, Janet.  I loved him.  He had a twinkle in his eye and was so kind to all of us.  I loved to sing on the bus with my friends.  I wish I could remember exactly what songs we sang, but I can't.  I suspect they were camp-like songs or Sunday school songs.  He would grin and encourage us to sing back and forth to school every day.  It was joyful.  Since I lived a fairly good distance from school, it was a good thing the trip was so positive.

  Then came jr. high and high school.  I'm not sure if Mr. Shutte was still our bus driver.  Probably not.  It was not a good experience anymore when I got to be that age.  There were some kids who lived on my street who made me nervous.  They teased and bullied me.  They sat in the back and I sat WAY up front, trying to avoid them.  At least they didn't come up to the front with me.  I hated their smirking and jeering when I got on and off the bus.  I couldn't WAIT to get my driver's license when I turned 16.  Driving to school made my life a whole lot better!

   Fast forward to when my daughters rode the bus.  Katie didn't like primary school very much.  I can remember her going through a crying period in 2nd grade.  I would put her on the bus, and if she forgot something or thought of something that made her sad, she would start crying and look forlornly out the window at me.  It  was heartbreaking.  One time, she realized she forgot to brush her teeth, and she looked frantically out the window, making tooth brushing movements over her teeth with her finger. Tears were streaming down her cheeks.  It was awful!

   Libby didn't like the bus much either, and even learned some of her first bad words on it when she was really little.  You can imagine what she learned when she was singing "Old Man Tucker" on the bus and accidentally rhymed it with an unsavory word.  The other kids, who knew the word was bad, laughed at and chastised her, making her worry all the way home since she didn't know what was wrong.  When she asked Ed, he had to suppress the laughter, and brilliantly told her to "Ask your mom."  Imagine my shock when she said, "Mom, what does _____mean?"

   Even now, my students aren't always crazy about what goes on during bus rides.  Some, however, are lucky.  They have bus drivers that make the journey fun, and I'm grateful for them.  I've even heard a few say they sing - the Mr. Shuttes of the world are still alive and well.  I'm glad!  In case you didn't get the allusion of the title, I took it from the Junie B. Jones series. ;-)



  1. Bus rides bring back so many memories! I avoided many of the kids in the back of the bus by riding up front and losing myself in a book. My daughter hasn't had the fun of riding the bus since she rides into school with me. She rode a bus once when she went home with a friend and said she never wanted to do that again.

  2. My bus ride was over an hour every day in elementary school, so we had to do something to entertain ourselves. Mostly we did the hand clap thing, probably drove the drivers nuts. We always fought for the back, it was the bounciest seat. You've brought back memories that have been laying dormant forever.

  3. Oh wow, could I tell bus stories--you have inspired me! I didn't have to ride one until fifth grade and it was full of bus bullies, then in high school it was full of the pot smokers in the back seats. I have been the mom who does a lot of driving of my girls to school.

  4. My bus experiences didn't start until junior high school athletics. We went to a neighborhood school so walked every day to elementary school. But boy do I have memories of those jr. high bus rides. What a great slice of memories!

  5. That yellow bus certainly seems to inspire the worst in some of our kids. Loved the naughty little ditty though, Holly.