53.

So the other night at dinner I told the family that I rode bus 53 from 4th grade until the beginning of my senior year in high school. It was the first bus (of two purchased that year) in the district to have the higher backed seats, emergency escape hatches in the ceiling, and an extra escape door in the back (for a total of two). Unlike the buses purchased by the district the previous decade, it did not have a Ford engine and it did not have a Blue Bird body, instead, it was the first diesel bus in the district, made by International with a Carpenter body. There was a “half” seat on one side in the back row. Bus 54 was its twin; 53 replaced 43 and 54 replaced 42. The buses purchased the next year were still International but with bodies by Blue Bird. The bus driver’s name was Bernie and had taken a liking to my sister. In kindergarten she could ride up front with him by sitting on the heater. It was the 1970s. Seat belts were just a suggestion. He’d turn left on the Springbrook Road and to tame the unruly students in the back, he’d pull over and scream “sit down and shut up!”. We’d sit there on the Springbrook Road until we were calm and then off we’d go for the rest of the route. My sister were second to last on the route home. Bernie was always pleasant and I believe he sold cars when he wasn’t driving bus. His brother Ed was a barber in town. His sister in law drove bus 54.

Chris mentioned he doesn’t even know the numbers of the buses he rode in school. I think Jamie and Mike stared at me in disbelief and Earl just shook his head up and down because he’s heard all these stories before.

I shared this for two reason: 1. It’s something I remember and I never have a shortage of stories to share and 2. 53 was at the forefront of my mind.

I turned 53 today. It’s hard to believe I started this blog at age 34. I’ve probably talked about bus 53 before.

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