First, thanks to Floyd for dropping off coffee and breakfast today! So nice. But that is our listener base! Floyd was selling insulation on the Flea Market last week. I guess it sold.
When we are children, there are people in our life that you don’t think will make an impact as we get older.
However, their memory is etched in the stories you tell and sometimes they become legendary!
Recently, I heard of the passing of one such person.
It proves that as children, pushed out the door to school, there are many people we encounter that make a difference.
Since I am the youngest in my family, the decision was made that I would attend school in Lumsden along with my sister and brother.
Lynette and Errol went to the big school and I attended the small school – elementary. They got off of the bus before me and as the sole 6 year old I had a bit of a guardian in our bus driver.
I remember one day, he helped pull me out of the muddy bog that lay between the bus and the school doors!
What was I to do! You couldn’t be late to get on the bus! And so, the bus driver pulled me and my boots out of the mud. He also made sure I went into the school on my 1st day!
Never, ever were you late for the bus, our driver had a schedule to keep and there was a risk of being left behind!
When I was in elementary school, I sat at the front with the older boys and then gradually moved to the back of the bus as I entered High School.
(I didn’t mind sitting with the older boys!)
I wouldn’t say we had preferential treatment, but as the first kids on, we did have the pick of seating! However, there were always those glances to the back of the bus! This especially happened when there seemed to be a little extra commotion going on! You know, laughter that gets just a little too loud!
Respect is earned and I think that is what the students learned by riding on Route # 12. Or was it #11?
Our school bus was clean inside and out. Our driver wore a tidy jacket, dress pants and a driver’s cap. He also wore sunglasses so you couldn’t tell if he was looking at you in that big mirror!!!
We had a radio and speakers at the back, so you could hear morning radio on the way to school.
There were adventures when we took side roads down to the valley or had to take the extended route when Lumsden was encountering flooding.
I always tried to say good morning and good bye! We were picked up on Highway 11 and dropped off at the farm approach. None of this door to door service. Our family would call our driver to let him know if we were going to be finding other transportation to school or not going at all.
And the weather really didn’t make a difference in those days.
You know, I still have the occasional dream about riding the bus. Perhaps other people do as well from that Findlater, Bethune, Lumsden route. The stories are legendary.
Just about a month ago, Jamie and I were talking about Stanley Shatkowski and his bus route. My mom had mentioned Stan’s birthdate is the same as my nephew, Jarret, January 12th. We talked on air about some of the wild rides and the “terms and conditions” of riding his bus.
Respect. The word cannot be said enough!
Stanley Shatkowski passed away on Thursday, February 18th at the age of 86.
If you are reading this, take a moment and think of the school bus driver you had or maybe the driver you have become!
I haven’t forgotten standing alongside Highway 11 waiting for that long yellow ride to arrive – always on time!
Rest in Peace, Stan!