Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke

Monday, January 17, 2011

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS


Did you ever (or do you ever) ride the bus? Many of my bus riding memories are vivid. Not only did I travel home from college on a Greyhound, but I also rode city bus transportation in Muskogee, OK, Oklahoma City, OK and Tulsa, OK.

My first experience on a city bus was while visiting a friend from church camp who lived in Muskogee. Her parents let us leave the house in the morning, catch a bus downtown and spend the day shopping, only to return to her home by our curfew. I am quite sure we were both about 11 or 12. It was the first day of my life to taste freedom and feel all grown up. Do any children still do this today? I am doubtful.

My fondest memory was a trip home from my grandparents in Ponca City, OK in 1958. My grandfather took me to the bus station and warned me not to talk to strangers. I was 12. Imagine the horror on my grandfather's face as the bus pulled away just as a young sailor sat down beside me. This handsome young sailor kept my attention all the way to Tulsa and even gave me his photo. When Ron and I found each other 13 years ago I liked to believe he was that same sailor I had been looking for since age 12:)

As a college student in Oklahoma City I had to return home once each month to have my dental braces adjusted. (Yes I wore braces my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college-...friends called me Grin-tin-tin). The bus seemed to stop every 30 miles between OKC and Altus, OK. The road was very treacherous and I was too young to actually be frightened by the trip. Several times I rode with the great-granddaughter of Quanah Parker and this frail, elderly woman would tell us stories of his life. Of course she could have made the whole thing up but for some reason I believed it all.

I worked for an insurance company downtown in Tulsa in the late 60s and had to ride the city bus daily to and from work. It was actually an enjoyable experience traveling with the same commuters every day and exchanging stories of our workday joys and woes. If a regular did not show up on the bus, we all worried about the individual.

Our most recent bus rides have been on tours when we go to Ron's various ship reunions. That travel is done on luxury charter buses.

I wonder what it would be like today to go the the bus station, buy a ticket to somewhere, and go for a ride. I hear it is not a very pleasant experience. I don't even know where a bus station is around here. Don't ask me why this all popped into my head. Do you have a bus story?

Suddenly I know why this popped into my head. Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and there was never a movement more involved with bus rides than the Civil Rights movement. I never traveled to a rally by bus but my siblings did.

23 comments:

  1. I always go around by bus. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I hate the waiting (although it can be interesting) but love the fact that - once in the bus - I do not have to pay any attention to traffic and all. I read a book or stare outside or - sometimes even better - observe the others in the bus or metro.

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  2. I used to ride the city bus in Atlanta when I first moved here and didn't have a car. I lived in midtown back then and it made sense to ride it. I also had a love/hate relationship with it, but it got me where I wanted to go.

    I only took a Greyhound bus one time, and it was during that same time with no car - I took it from Atlanta to middle Georgia to my home town. It took hours! And it is a 1.5 hour drive by car. And an ex-boyfriend was telling me once about taking the bus from upstate New York to Tampa, Florida - I said, "Did it take all summer????" :)

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  3. I road a bus to Honolulu from Hawaii Kai when in grad school...and yes I do have a bus story. Too long to post here, but I will think about making a life story post on it. Thanks for bringing it to mind.

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  4. One of my most memorable bus rides was in Hawaii...it was not a tour and so enjoyed seeing the locals use it to go to the grocery or whatever.

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  5. I used to ride the city buses many many moons ago before I bought my first car. I loved it. Back then a ton of people rode the bus and there was always something interesting to break up the monotony. And a few bus rides - once, again many many years ago,to Atlantic City (a 12 hour ride each way of hell) with a group of friends. We still laugh about it to this day...somehow the tiring and crazy trips are the ones that stand out in memory and turn from being bad to being fun to remember.

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  6. As a child I use to ride the bus often. My mother and I would walk a couple of blocks to the bus stop and then go downtown and do a little shopping or eat somewhere.

    My most memorable bus ride was the one where I found out there was no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny - not even a tooth fairy. I had heard rumors at school about such and one evening my mother and I were returning from one of our trips to town when I popped the fatal question. Unfortunately she obliged my curiousity.

    Made a couple or three trips on Greyhound or Trailways when I was in the military and making $85 a month. They weren't all that much fun back then either.

    I tell you what I do miss. I use to love to ride trains!

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  7. I had travel to school on the bus from age 11 until 16. They were red double deckers, a conductor to help you on & off, no heaters and no doors! If you were late & fit you could run behind and jump on!

    Now they're mainly single deckers with automatic doors, where the entrance lowers for wheelchairs and pushchairs and the heaters work! I can't believe how regularly they run and they always seem to be on time. That's progress!

    I love the story about you and the sailor. Well as the song goes "All the nice girls love a sailor".

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  8. My dad worked for Greyhound - we took the bus everywhere. sandie

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  9. From about the age of 12, I rode city buses all over town. In college, I had to transfer several times to get to classes. I rode a Greyhound bus from Norfolk to NYC once, to see mr. kenju play basketball in the Olympic Trials of 1964. But I have not been on a bus since 1964 and I am happy about that.

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  10. Yes, Annie, I do have a bus story..or rather, my granddaughter does..

    When Julie was 10 years old President and Mrs Clinton held a contest to see which schoolchild could make the best ornament for the White House Christmas tree. Julie worked very hard on her ornament and won the contest for her school.

    All the winners were invited to the White House to place their ornament on the tree.

    Julie traveled from Pennsylvania to Washington on a Greyhound bus.
    I won't go into details here but the poor kid said that it was a nightmare..Flat tires,battery failures,engine trouble, etc.

    When she got home she said to her Dad," If you ever have to go somewhere,Dad, don't ever go on that bus with the running dog on the side."

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  11. Awesome post, and I love the story about how you wanted the sailor to be Ron :)

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  12. I'm always afraid I would run into some wierdo (like me) on the bus.
    btw, We have enough cherries in our freezer for 20 pies so I'll supply the cherries.

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  13. Great post, and I love the part about secretly wishing Ron was the sailor. IMAGINE. :)

    I wouldn't let my 14-year old daughter ride alone on a Miami bus for anything...unless it's a school bus, and even that's iffy. Times have definitely changed.

    I remember riding the bus downtown with my grandmother when I was a kid and being scared to death. Everyone was always so quiet and stared a lot, but that could be because we were speaking a foreign language. I wonder what it would be like to ride one now. I should go on one with Holland sometime.

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  14. Holland – And do you sketch people on the bus? You always seem to have a sketch pad with you.

    Lynn – Travel by plane is not a lot faster. My last “one hour” flight to Dallas took five hours due to all kinds of delays. I could have driven to Dallas in that time.

    Tabor – Let me know when you are going to post your bus story. Can’t wait to hear it.

    Changes – Sounds like a perfect way to see the place your are touring. A city bus ride would definitely show the real side of life.

    Talon – Your love of mixing with people shows in the things you write. That is one of the reasons you show such empathy.

    Cyberspacedawdler – You should hate bus rides. What a traumatic memory to lose all your childhood idols were fiction. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  15. Winifred – The freedom we had as children and the lack of fear are things of the past. That is a shame. Yep Ron was 18 when I was 12 and rode buses all the time. That stranger on the bus with me could have been him. Since the sailor on the bus told me big stories all the way to Tulsa makes it even more possible to have been Ron. LOL

    Chatty Crone – Sandie, did you get to ride free? I’ll bet you have some stories to share.

    Kenju – It sounds like your bus riding memories would be good ones.

    Nancy – Did Julie make that bus ride alone at age 10? I think you have a story here for the Elder Storytelling page.

    Riot Kitty – If I think about it long enough I can convince myself that it was Ron. LOL

    Cliff – Yep I imagine you would create some tales for persons to recall on bus rides. Grab Marilyn and the cherries and head our direction. Just let me know when to put Slim up so she won’t attack you guys.

    Lulu – That would be an exciting adventure for you and Holland to take together. Still don’t let your daughter ride the bus alone:)

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  16. Like my mother before me I much prefer buses to trains. We travelled round India on a bus, round Ancient Greece and Canada and once I even took a greyhound from Westchester to Rhode Island and back. Great fun - but that was then.

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  17. This is so interesting Annie :) I remembered when I was 13, I was afraid to travel by bus alone so I walked to school everyday (about 30 mins or so).

    One day, my neighbour accompanied me to the bus stop and I thought she is going to take the bus with me but guess what? When she saw me board the bus, she waved goodbye at the bus stop :)

    So now...I am not afraid anymore and I do enjoy bus rides :D

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  18. I haven't been on a bus for years. In fact since having a car I rarely use public transport apart from an occasional train ride up to London.

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  19. No,Annie, Julie wasn't alone on that bus.

    I think it was chartered by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education to take all the little winners of the contest from the various schools around the to the White House.

    She is 26 years old,married for five years,and expecting her first baby in April and I think her Dad would still not allow her on a bus alone....

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  20. We used to ride buses in Manhattan when I was a kid. When we moved to Florida that stopped.

    I did end up having to travel by bus when a car I was riding in broke down. The ride seemed interminable and a little kid kept throwing toys at me. It was bad.

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  21. Dear Ann ~~ I have never been a bus rider. Many years ago I travelled by
    tram to go into the city to work.
    During World War 2, my father drove double decker buses for a few years.
    Times have really changed and kids would not be ale to travel alone
    these days.
    Thanks for your comments and concern about our floods. I have watched Oprah's first 3 shows and it is raising lots of money for the victims. She is a good person and loved Australia.
    Glad you enjoy the jokes; I get most of them sent to me by friends and relatives & bloggers, so am
    happy to share them. Take care, my
    friend, Love, Merle.

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  22. For 3 years after school I rode a city bus to the next town for work. I met the father of my two girls on the bus from Boston to the town I now live in.
    When young I used to make up whole new lives for myself to tell on each long bus trip- I was quite an actor!

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  23. Hmm riding the bus is so different when you do it because you want to as opposed to when you have to.

    I hated to HAVE to ride the bus as a child.

    But I loved WANTING to ride the bus in college.

    And now of course my daughter BEGS to ride the bus!!

    Life is just one big circle!!! LOL

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