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Tragedy at The Back of My School Bus

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

School Bus, Front to Rear

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In 1922, I Will Have Spent

50 years since I graduated (not with honors) from my alma mater, Hamilton High School located in the friendly town of Hamilton, Ala. This is all real. I personally invite you to make the trip here to drink coffee with me. I would talk more about Hamilton, but my topic bears a lot more than a travel log about an Alabama town.

I hated the idea of starting to school in 1961, but with more hatred, I went. By the time my first-grade teacher had talked about things like books are our friends, and don't make life a trash can, I was ready to vomit. Matter of fact, I did vomit just after the lunch that we were forced to eat. That is if you like raw horse meat, hog lard, and the sweet milk that was the reason for my vomiting because years later I learned about lactose intolerant.

I had a stern, but soft-spoken teacher. She was a real pro. She stood and walked as if she had been trained by some historic college for women, i.e., Judson College, in Alabama; Alabama School for Women to name one. I would have led-off with Judson, because I read about this place when I was all alone in the library, and these cats at Judson knew their women's college teaching principles as well as social manners. My teacher had to be from Judson. I'm sorry that I never got a chance to ask her.

School Bus, Back to Front

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A School Bus Has Two Key Areas

in which the students must congregate and thieve as a cooperative cog in society. Right off, I knew that if I sat in the front of the bus, I was placing myself underneath a microscope. No fun. No nothing. The bus driver, bless his heart, was always on guard for childhood pranks and such. I knew that if I crossed that certain time, I would be hauled to the principal and my parents and neiher authority area were understanding.

Now. Things were quite different in the back of the bus, which was a "Student's Paradise," for being able to enjoy a taste of true peace and freedom. A young student such as myself, could enjoy and learn so much about life, but not so much in the back of the life. Sure, it was a great place to ride the bus, but I only got to look on as my life unfolded and teaching me what was what about life.e

I Missed These Such Notable Things in The Back of The School Bus

  • Missing a certain girl who was in the eighth-grade who sat in the middle of the bus. I was in the seventh-grade, by the way. But this gal was so mature that I was in awe of "Mother Nature's Gifts," and when our eyes met, she had "that" certain smile. Oh, if I had only sat near her in the middle. This is just a portion of the good things in life that I missed by riding in the back of the bus.
  • My good friend, Gilbert, (his real first name), had this knack to shoot his rubber band loaded with lethal spitballs and those who he shot, all bowed-down in their seats because he was so accurate. But the thing that I missed about Gilbert who sat near the front of the bus was I never asked him to teach me to shoot like a rubber band.
  • I had two almost-grown women, Ann and Bonnie, (their real first names), who always had snacks that they had bought in our school's break area. They enjoyed Banana Taffy, those chocolate suckers that took a day to eat and more. I was always so hungry when I sat in the back of the bus because my folks had never gave me the "break money" in order to be like Ann and Bonnie. I often wish that I had just asked them for just a bite of that delicious candy. But I was stuck. In the back of the bus.
  • Spitballs were not the only ammunition that other pupils use to hit each other on the bus because if a spitball was expertly-crafted, they could cause blisters on the victim. Nope. I did not get to take any "Spitball Workshop" at the back of the bus.
  • There were no pretty girls who sat with me and my rogue friends in the back of the bus, so I just sat and adored those 13-year-olds, blonde, blue-eyed, who I would wave to, and if they saw me, they ignored me. Do you now see the tragedy that I had to endure by sitting at the back of the bus?

Rosa Parks, "The Leader of The Montgomery School Boycott"

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Honoring Rosa Louise Parks

Many years prior to my school days, there was a monumental milestone that was created by Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) who was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress named her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement". That, I can easily be proud of the days in my high school days that I did get to sit at the front of our bus. Not as much for personal gratification, but to honor one of my heroes, Rosa.
March 06, 2021_____________________________________________________

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© 2021 Kenneth Avery

Comments

By Grace 7 on March 07, 2021:

I live on the other side of the pond to you Kenneth and where I went to school we didn't have such a thing as a school bus. I walked or rode my bicycle to school.

My senior school was only 2 miles away but as money was tight I doubt that even if there were a bus I would have used it.

But on the odd time we had a school trip out that entailed using a bus then you would have found my friends and I either on that back seat or very near the back for many of the same reasons as yours.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 07, 2021:

Like Peggy, I was always within walking distance to my schools until my high school years.

The only time I got to ride the bus was if I was staying overnight with a friend.

I remember looking forward to it each time.

Yeppie! We had a few trouble makers, but our bus driver just pulled over & stopped the bus.

He wouldn't go anywhere until it was all calm, so we were even later getting home.

When I was in high school, I was allowed to drive a car back and forth to school since I always had some kind of practice after classes let out. I was a majorette.

Then I worked at the local Steak house after that and my parents both had jobs by the time I was at this age.

Sorry you missed out by riding in the back of the bus.

If only you knew then...you would have not put so much effort to sit with your buddies.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 07, 2021:

I was always within walking distance of the schools I attended. I only remember riding a bus a few times, so I did not build up the memories you have. I'm glad I missed those spitballs! Ha!

DW Davis from Eastern NC on March 07, 2021:

Ah, those long, interesting, and educational rides on the school bus. I had the historical opportunity to ride the bus during the first years of court-ordered busing and desegregation in Wilmington, NC in the early/mid-1970s. These were in the days of the Wilmington 10 and KKK rallies close to formerly all-white schools in the suburbs.

As a fifth-grader, I scant understood the social and political machinations behind all the violence and protest, but I remember National Guardsmen on the street corners.

On the brighter side, I did have similar experiences on the bus such as those you enjoyed.

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