Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, January 23, 2012

You Had it Tough? We Rode the Bus!

 . . . or something similar.

You've heard the stories from the past where kids had to walk to school through eight feet of snow.
Uphill.
Both ways.
Well, those didn't apply to me.
I rode the school bus.
Which was an adventure in itself.
Let me explain . . .
School buses in the early sixties were very similar to those driven today.
Yellow.
I'm almost sure there was an engine under the oversized and bulbous hood.
They had a driver.
Seats.
Windows.
And lots and lots of kids.
But busses in the sixties had a few 'extra' features.
Forms of entertainment that simply don't exist today.
Too bad.
Busses today have powered windshield wipers that are sturdy, dependable and have several settings.
They keep on working through rain, snow, sleet, hail.
In fact, anything that may be thrown at the all-important front windshield.
The busses that carted me to and from school had wipers, too.
Just not the kind you see today.
They had what is know as 'vacuum' wipers.
I'm not sure what made them work.
But I know what didn't.
Revving the engine.
If it was raining hard and the wipers were going, all was well.
Until the bus was required to do something untoward.
Like move faster.
Or go up a hill.
The engine would rev.
And the wipers would quit.
The driver would have to roll down the side window and stick his (or her) head outside so they could see.
If the driver took his foot off the accelerator, the wipers would start again.
Push the pedal down? They stopped.
It was enormously entertaining.
But not nearly as much fun as when the bus was required to go up Angel's hill.
Yes. We really had an Angel's hill.
Oh, it's not what you're thinking.
It was simply the hill that led to the Angel family's ranch.
But I digress . . .
Our rather aged vehicle had a hard time going up that hill.
Sometimes, if we had a larger than normal load (perhaps all of us kids had eaten lunch, for example), the bus wouldn't be able to make it.
We'd have to get off and trail along behind the bus till it reached the top.
Well, we younger kids would trail.
The older kids would push.
Whereupon (good word) we would all clamber back aboard and happily find our seats once more.
Huh. I just realized that we did have to walk uphill to get to school.
Pushing the bus.
Good story!

10 comments:

  1. Those school buses were something else in the day weren't they? No insulation. We huddled for warmth. Well we were a farming area so there were lots of BIG boys to help get the bus back on track when things went wrong (like the back end doing its level best to slide into the ditch). Lots of fun. Kids today don't know what they are missing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I remember those greasy roads and the bus sliding back and forth! Maybe that's why I still can't sleep in a moving vehicle . . .

      Delete
  2. My mother drove a bus just like that in the mid to late 70's. She always had an adventure or tale to tell when she got home. Some days in the winter she would come home covered in snow or wet from sticking her head out the window. Great story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Mom got to be the driver?! I always thought that would be the neatest job! You never had to walk . . .

      Delete
  3. Is this really true about the wipers???
    Unbelievable.
    Were children expected to push the bus?

    Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was true! If the bus started working harder, the wipers would go slower. Then quit. It was fun to watch. Probably not a much fun for the driver :) And yes. the big kids did have to push the bus. I was little. I got away with walking . . .

      Delete
  4. We were deprived of school buses. I want a do over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely missed out on something, Joanne! But in reading your adventures, you more than made up for it!!!

      Delete
  5. Oh, that's hilarious! And a little bit scary! I don't think I would like it if I knew my kids were PUSHING a bus UP a hill! yikes! I had to ride the bus too. I had a mean bus driver that would pull your hair if you got our of your seat. I have some really good bus stories actually. :) Like the time I hit a bully in the face with my metal lunch box because I was tired of him picking on me. Yeah... like that. Oh, I had a temper on me when I was pushed far enough! Now you won't want to be my friend anymore that you know my violent past. haha

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, Ginger! You da man! Well . . . sort of . . . :) I remember those metal lunch buckets. With the slot for holding a thermos. I'd love to hear more of your 'bus stories'!

    ReplyDelete

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