Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bus Stop, Bus Stop

The chill of autumn is beginning to show itself in the mornings. Not too bad yet but it’s coming. Kids will be walking to school, dressed in shorts, no coat. God forbid an umbrella. It got me thinking about riding the school bus and the long walk to the bus stop when I was in kindergarten.

We lived in a little neighborhood in the unincorporated part of Santa Cruz, in Live Oak. We moved into the first house on a brand new street when I was five; the bus stop was at “the little store”, Lucky 7 Market about a quarter-mile away. The store was owned by a family whose daughter, another Debbie, would be my bestest friend all through our school years.

I remember that treacherous walk well and the few times I had to be rescued. Generally, I would make my way alone, no iPod to keep me company. On rainy days, I would share an umbrella with this “big girl”. She was probably in high school. I want to think her name was Ellen though that may just be because, in my memory, she resembles one of my sister’s friends by the same name. She was walking to the stop from a side street and on rainy days would pick me up in her arms so I could keep dry with her under the umbrella. Can you imagine now, if our young child came home with that story: “she picked me up, Mommy, and I got to be under her umbrella all the way to the bus stop”. Oy! Did I seem like I needed taking care of? Oh, who am I kidding? Look at this picture. I was adorable.

I do recall requiring a few rescues over the year. The Francis’ had chickens. More importantly, they had roosters. Occasionally those big Reds would meander out the driveway and would be pecking gravel at the edge of the road; the very road I would have to walk. Those roosters, at least to my 5-year-old eye, were HUGE and terrifying. I recall starting to walk by the yard on the far far far side of the road but the birds looked at me. They clucked at me. I was scared to death and quite sure they were going to get me. So I did what any kid would do – I ran back home. Just as I got there, I’m sure babbling about killer chickens, Randy, the Meadow Gold milkman was making his morning delivery. He offered me a ride IN THE MILK TRUCK. That was the coolest thing. I remember standing up on the passenger side. I may have been sitting but I don’t think so. Probably no passenger seat and probably had the door wide open on that side. Again, can you imagine a parent allowing this today?

Another time I was rescued by Randy was when the Portilla’s dog was watching me. Their house was set back, well off the road but they had a big picture window and a really huge grey Great Dane….with red eyes that glowed! You shut up! They did TOO. Scared me half to death and, even though the house was halfway to the bus stop, I ran all the way home and was, again, rescued by the milk man.

Trying to share this store with my kids is ludicrous. Who allows a five-year-old to walk alone to school? Who allows a child to ride with the milk man. What the heck is a milk man?!


Rose said...

:) Times have changed.

There was a lady on the news a month or so ago - I forget who she was, a talk show person, or radio personality maybe - lived in New York I think - she let her 8 yr old ride the subway. She said we all used to do it, what happened? Why is it now so odd? Why are we so afraid?

And her son was interviewed or quoted - he loves it.

I'm sure I have all the details wrong - but I think she may have written a piece, either NY Times or Wall St. Journal....

Maybe somebody will know.

Kym said...

Rose, I read this, too. I loved the story.

And Beachcomber, I know the Dane's eyes glowed red. I had the same thing happen when I was a kid. (Maybe the evil is only shown to children? Cause I haven't seen it happen since I was an adult.)