Today, while killing time before a store opened, I drove by my first childhood home. I've looked for the street a few times in the past couple of decades but have never been able to find it. Today, I finally found it. Turns out I kept missing it because it was so much smaller than I recalled. Our old house is still sweet and remains the cutest on the street. I was happy to see it doing so well.
I then drove past my elementary school. It too was much smaller than I recalled. As I drove around the block I found myself following my old school bus route. I was shocked at how much I remembered. I drove by one house and recalled a now faceless, nameless friend who had lost one of her older brothers to a tractor accident. *shudder* I remember her telling me about the accident in gory detail. He had been "squished". I remember feeling terrible about it but now it's all I remember about her. That seems unfair but I was only 7 years old so I forgive myself.
As I continued to drive I remembered our school bus drivers. The regular driver's name was Annie. She was a rather sturdy woman with a long red braid falling down her back. (Think Wynonna Judd.) She didn't speak much but we knew not to mess with her. Mostly we felt safe with Annie, she kept the bus and the passengers under control. She played the radio and I always associate Top of the World, Play That Funky Music and Get Down Tonight to my rides on Annie's bus. Well, those songs and Proposition 13 campaign signs on lawns are what I remember most. When Annie was out sick, our substitute driver was Bob. Like Annie, Bob didn't have much to say but we loved him. Bob made every ride on the bus like that of a roller coaster. When we saw Bob pulling up at the corner bus stop we'd all cheer and scramble on the bus for our wild ride. Our route included a perilous stretch of mountain road and Bob didn't hold back. He drove VERY fast along his route and we loved it. The song I associate with Bob is S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night by the Bay City Rollers as we careened on those narrow, winding roads. Of course, I don't recall ever mentioning Bob's wild rides to my parents. Those rides were our bus stop's joy in the monotony of our little elementary school days. I think Bob may have also given us candy at 7:00 am, one more reason to love the guy. Looking back I realize Bob was probably on something, it was the 70's after all. It's a miracle he didn't kill us, still I remember Bob fondly.
After a rainy night, our bus stop group would get to the stop early to collect snails, pile them up on the street and wait for the school bus wheels to smoosh them. (I know... gross!) Oh the disappointment when Annie or Bob missed our hard earned pile. They hit it more often than not so there was a brown snail stain on that street corner year round. It's gone now.
As my little trip down memory lane continued I got to the street forever known as "The Shopping Cart Street". It was called "The Shopping Cart Street" because a family friend, Mr. Jergensen, swore that "the last time" he drove down that street his passing car was mysteriously attacked by a runaway shopping cart. He refused to drive that street after his harrowing experience. We always talked mom into taking that street on the off chance we'd finally see Mr. Jergensen's rogue shopping cart... we never did. Today, while driving down "The Shopping Cart Street" I was smiling to myself at the memory of that story when I saw this:
I swear to God, I circled the block to swing back around for this picture. I literally laughed out loud when I spotted it. I'm tempted to send the pic to Mr. Jergensen. Mr. Jergensen told lots of stories and we were never sure which were true. I'm not even sure he'd remember his old foe, but the whole recollection cracked me up.