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.