Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A(bus)ed

 . . . 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.
Stay with me . . .
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 road was on an even grade with no challenges, all was well.
But if 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 Angyal 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 breakfast, for example), the bus wouldn't be able to make it.
We'd have to get off and trail along behind 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.
Beat that!

3 comments:

  1. Big smiles. And an explanation for the buses difficulties. It was a story creator...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still remember the exhaust pipe coming apart underneath and the hot exhaust burning through the brake line. Dick simply used the E-brake and continued to do so until he was able to fix the brakes and the exhaust. My favorite is still the special forked stick he used to wedge between the dash and the shift lever to keep it from jumping out of high...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I walked, in all weathers, until I had a bike. Then I rode, in all weathers. Boring, right?

    ReplyDelete

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