That kicked in some of my memories. When I was in the first grade I was assigned to Bus No. 14, and my bus stop was at the corner of Madison Avenue and Thompson Road. I was lucky because I could stand inside Heath’s Grocery Store in bad weather.
The first day of school was anything but easy for me. I remember walking to my bus stop and waiting for the bus. It seemed like I had waited a long time. I was told that the bus would be coming from the direction that would allow me to get on it without crossing the road. I watched and watched but never saw a bus.
I finally walked into the store and spoke to the cashier, who had seen me waiting for the bus. She hadn’t seen a bus either. While we were talking we noticed an old blue and white bus come to a stop at the intersection. We thought nothing of that because we were looking for a school bus.
After a long period of time I was encouraged to go home and explain to my mother what had happened. At that time my mother had not obtained a driver’s license. I believe she walked me to school that morning.
When we arrived at Edgewood Grade School we reported to the office. We were informed that Steve Tilson, my bus driver, was new on the job and should have been driving a brand-new bus. His bus had not been delivered yet, so he was driving an old blue and white one and had been running very late.
Mr. Tilson drove that old blue bus for several days before he got his new one. My bus stop was one of the last stops on his route in the morning and evening. The buses were often overloaded in those days.
Edgewood had Grades 1-8 in the building at that time. On Bus No. 14 we had an older student who played a large string bass for the band and orchestra. He needed to stand in the aisle and hold his instrument, which made it difficult for students to get past him.
Mr. Tilson, who lived on McFarland Road across from St. Jude Church, owned a small drugstore on Madison just north of where Harold’s Car Wash was later built. I often think about him when I drive past those locations.
Later, I rode with Norwood Epler, who drove Bus No. 12. I caught his bus at Madison and Morgan Drive.
During my days at Southport High School my dad became a bus driver for Perry Township, but I was never assigned to his bus. I quickly understood that this was a good thing since my dad was outside of the school office twice a day. I don’t remember any of the school staff going out to his bus to tell him what a great student I was.
Just as Terri Stacy has good memories of her bus drivers, I do also.
About three or four years after graduating from Southport, I started making school bus memories again. Except this time I was the driver. I enjoy many of those memories.