I looked back over the time that I have been writing these columns – with the help of Stuart, my therapy dog – and found I have shared stories of this kind. Marcia Gunnion, Amber Atherton, Alicia Taylor, Rachele and Myranda Tryon, Brooke Pate, Shelby Wright, Abby and Chelsea Storms and Stacy Whyde are but of a few of the people I first knew as bus riders. Each of these former students has enriched my life more than I could ever say.
Abby and Chelsea Storms celebrated their 21st birthdays last week, and if I know them ... that party is probably ongoing. I remember that their 13th birthday celebration went on for a couple of weeks.
I noticed on my Facebook account that another of my former riders also had a birthday last week. A couple of times later in the week I told some friends a story about this former rider.
A few years ago I received a Facebook message from someone whose name I didn’t recognize. She introduced herself and mentioned that she might have ridden on my dad’s school bus. I asked her what part of Perry Township she had lived in, to which she responded Rosedale Hills.
I smiled and answered by saying that she hadn’t ridden with my father but with me on Bus No. 34, which I drove to and from Edgewood Grade School. I didn’t think I had convinced her so I offered up a few names of students who I remembered from that route. After reading the names Denise and David Morris and Janie Schultz, she was a believer. She responded with a few names, and we were soon typing “LOL” about every 20 seconds.
I later read her complete Facebook page and discovered that she was an attorney for Johnson County. Her name is Kathleen Hash; I was reconnecting with the former Kathleen Shaul.
I started watching and enjoying her posts. She loves animals, and I discovered a while back that she and Stuart were Facebook friends.
Several months after our initial Facebook connection, I had to drive to Camp Atterbury for a meeting. As I returned home, I took a chance and detoured into Downtown Franklin. I found the building that housed the Johnson County attorney and walked in.
I presented a Southsider Voice business card to the receptionist and asked if it might be possible to talk with Kathleen Hash.
As the receptionist disappeared into an office, I heard some muffled discussion and then a louder noise of excitement. Kathleen came out smiling and laughing.
We talked for a long time in her office and had a wonderful visit. She is a special lady. Stuart and I feel honored to be her Facebook friends.
We hope she had a wonderful birthday, Abby and Chelsea, too!