Never Ridden on a School Bus

I’ve never taken a school bus to school. From kindergarten through third grade I walked roughly a half mile to my now nonexistent parochial school, St. Catherine of Siena, through an urban environment somewhat resembling that portrayed in the 1979 movie The Warriors. Sometimes I passed drunks or drug users but, oddly, I rarely felt danger. Even as a kid I had a pretty good sense for such things.

After we moved to the house my mom lived in until her death a few years ago, from fourth grade through eighth grade I walked. My dad hacked out a path along the service easement in back of our house. My dad, ever the lawyer, didn’t want us walking on the sidewalk-less street and also didn’t want us to cut through our neighbors’ yards. Hence, the easement. That took me to a golf course. My dad had extracted permission from the club for us to cross the golf course on our way to school. After that it was past the local public grade school, Price School, along sidewalks to our local parochial school. Roughly, a mile in all. Sometimes a mile in the rain or frigid (for St. Louis) weather and a golf course covered with a foot of snow.

In freshman year I hitched a ride with one of my classmates whose dad’s office was right next door to our high school. I walked a mile to the end of our street, was picked up, and rode the eight miles to school. Sophomore year of high school I walked the mile down to the bus stop at the end of our street and took what was laughingly known as “Bi-State Rapid Transit” eight miles to my high school. If the weather was nice and I felt like it, I walked.

In junior year and thereafter I got a ride from the end of our street from my best high school buddy who’d received a car for his 16th birthday. It wasn’t particularly stylish—his family’s old Mercury Meteor. My, but he loved that car! And it got us to school without any problems.

But I’ve never ridden a school bus to school.

8 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    Dave, I think this comment is in the wrong que.

  • You’re right. I’m moving it.

  • Icepick Link

    I only ever walked or biked to school in those days. Occassionally, if the weather was really bad, I’d get a ride from Mom or someone else nearby. But then my high school was just under two miles away, so big deal.

  • Same here. When we moved back here to FL I wanted to get a place in walking distance of the elementary school, which I lucked out on. The district boundaries are weird here – the neighborhood just north of here has to take their kids to a school 4 miles away across I-95.

  • Icepick Link

    The district boundaries are weird here – the neighborhood just north of here has to take their kids to a school 4 miles away across I-95.

    Andy, the district boundaries are possibly court mandated, and are certainly court influenced. I believe Orange County just got out from under court rulings from the 1970s regarding integrating school integration.

    Also, I’m surprised you’d let your children walk to elementary school. These days parents usually insist on walking their children from class to class in grad school.

  • PD Shaw Link

    The state of Illinois is planning on cutting bus reimbursement to the school districts (while thankfully eliminating the mandate to bus all children at least 1 1/2 miles from school or across a dangerous street).

    It will be interesting to see how this effects the continuation of desegregation orders.

  • Icepick,

    Here in Brevard county they redrew some of the elementary lines a couple of years ago and are redrawing some more this year. From what I gather it’s mainly due to demographics – some schools were overcapacity while others were under.

  • I walked up until the middle of my sophomore year of HS, when we moved overseas and I ended up on a DoD bus in Ankara. The school, when I first got there, was about 5 miles from our place. They moved the school the next year, about 10 miles away. Walking wasn’t really an option. University, both a CC and at G’town were both walking, even crawling distance.

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