February 17, 2009: Memories of Schoolbuses

Back to work today.  Not that I don’t work on the weekend or holidays but it definitely feels quite a bit different on an official work day.  Yesterday was very slow at the office and it really was almost completely a holiday.  Good enough for me.  The last thing that I want to do is not to sign in for an entire day and wonder what disaster has befallen everyone while I wasn’t looking.

Today was a big windfall in finding old friends on FaceBook.  I am old enough now that “old” friends is starting to be a reasonable saying.  I tracked down almost everyone that lived on my street (Peoria Road) with whom I used to ride the schoolbus when we were little.  I only rode the schoolbus on that route between first grade and the middle of seventh grade, if I remember correctly.

In Kindergarten we rode a short bus that drove just five of us around – Janet, Sandra Sue, Jody, Brian and I.  We were the only five Pavilion district kids who attended Pavilion Baptist School in the class of 1994 and since only PBS had a half day Kindergarten we had to have a bus all to ourselves.  It was a painfully long busride because we lived scattered all over the place.  Janet lived in Pearl Creek.  Jody on route 246 near Perry Center.  Sandra Sue on route 63 getting close to Batavia.  Brian lived on Old State Road not all that far from me and somewhat between Jody and I but not quite and I lived on the north end of Peoria Road making me the last one off of the bus.  So every day in Kindergarten I got a full tour of the towns of Pavilion and Covington who both fall in the Pavilion school district.

Just now as I describe the route that we took it has occurred to me that four of us lived in the town of Covington in Wyoming County and only Sandra Sue lived in Pavilion in Genesee County.  She, unfortunately, lived at the far northwestern extent while I was all the way to the east and Jody was all the way to the south.  There really was hardly a patch of the two towns that we didn’t have to cross to get all of us home.  It made getting out of school early only so much of a big deal.

After Kindergarten I rode the Pavilion school district’s elementary bus home because it was the later bus.  The high school kids from the public school went home before we did, if I remember correctly, so I always rode the elementary bus which meant that when kids on the bus got to either sixth or seventh grade, depending on the year because they changed their definition of high school a few times while I was there, the kids would switch to the high school bus and I would never see them again.  When I was young it wasn’t bad but as I got older it was awkward to be the older, private school kid who rode the bus with the younger public school kids.

Due to the location where we lived I was either the last or nearly the last person off of the school bus.  My rides in the evening were very, very long.  My ride home began by getting out of school at PBS and waiting for about forty five minutes while all of the other kids got picked up by their school districts and carted off home.  Many of them reached home before I even left school.  Those of us from the Pavilion district, even though we were the local district, had to wait outside of the school all alone every day.  It was very depressing as a child to have the freedom of evening ebb away just standing around outside of the school waiting to be picked up.

Once we were picked up we were driven over to Pavilion Elementary which is across the street from the high school.  If I remember correctly, the high school would go home just too early to be able to take us because once in a while high school kids would stay late at school (sports, detention, whatever) and then would ride the elementary bus home.  Then I would have to stand at Pavilion Elementary for ten or fifteen minutes on a good day just waiting for the bus that took me home to arrive.  In bad weather we could wait inside of the school’s foyer but that always felt awkward as a kid standing inside of a school that you did not attend.  So I almost always braved the weather and just stood out waiting for my bus.

Then the bus ride home itself from Pavilion Elementary to my home on Peoria Road took just forever.  This was so much worse than a long bus ride for normal people because I was riding the bus with people with whom I did not go to school (not a single PBS student rode my bus after Brian Hendrickson left PBS after first grade) and because I was forced to wear both uncomfortable and embarrassingly unfashionable clothes so that I felt even more out of place than was necessary on this long, lonely bus ride home.

The ride home took around an hour after I was finally onto the late bus.  I don’t remember exactly how long it took but it seems like it must have been more than an hour.  In either case, the entire time from school letting out until I got home was well more than two hours.  It may have been three when you consider how long I had to stand at PBS waiting to be picked up by the first bus.

I do remember that when I got to middle school and could get detention that getting detention was actually a reward because they would have you do your homework until a few minutes after the Pavilion bus left and then would have your parents take you home.  (Read that carefully – the punishment was to make us wait the length of time that we, the Pavilion kids, had to wait everyday.  So OTHER people got punished by being treated like us.  Nice.)  Then, after detention was over and homework was complete, my mom would pick me up and have me home an hour or two sooner than normal without the awkward bus ride.  Then I would have an extra long evening without any homework.  Downside?

When I was in eighth grade, sometimes in nice weather, I would ride my bike to and from school.  This was a bit of a pain because I had to ride in full private school dress clothes which chaffed, were generally uncomfortable, were way too warm and were likely to get covered in grease from the bike.  Luckily going towards school was almost entirely downhill – the total decent being a few hundred feet – so you did not get all sweaty on the way to school.  But going home meant a steep incline to bike up the whole way home – and carrying loads of books.  But it was nice because even when I wasn’t strong enough to climb the hills and had to walk up them pushing the bike it still got me home about two hours early since I actually lived very near to the school.

I stopped riding the bus primarily in seventh grade when I was twelve years old.  On the ride home one day I was sitting, looking out the window to my left while still sitting at Pavilion Elementary waiting for the bus to fill up.  I was resting my head on my hand like “The Thinker”.  A kid from PBS who was riding the bus that day called my name and I turned to see what he wanted.  I did not move my hand.  He was holding himself above me holding on to each side of the seat backs and then then, when I looked, he dropped on me bringing his knee down directly onto the back of my hand that was braced by the elbow against my leg.  His whole weight came down on that knee pushing my hand flush down against my wrist breaking my wrist.

After that I almost never rode the schoolbus.  And, in 1990 when I was fourteen and entering ninth grade, I transferred from PBS to York Central School which was the neighbouring district to Pavilion.  Because I was officially outside of the York district I did not have to ride the school bus and mom drove me to and from school until I was old enough to get my driver’s license and drive myself to and from when I was sixteen.  I was the last student allowed to go to York without living in the district.  Two of us that had ridden my school bus at Pavilion did that – both from the class of 1994.  I being from PBS and she was from Holy Family in Batavia previously.  York was ranked the third best public school in New York State when I attended there so there was good reasons for picking it over my local district.  York tied with Avon my junior year in high school for third in state and sat one spot behind Livonia.  Three schools in the top four all in one county – and a very rural county at that.

During my days of riding the Pavilion schoolbus I did manage to make a number of friends – almost exclusively with those kids who lived on Peoria Road because we spent so much more time together than we did with everyone else since the kids who got off of the bus early tended to sit in the front and knew each other from their long morning bus rides.  My morning bus rides were short, thankfully, but they still required the bus transfer at the elementary school and did not deliver me to my school until about halfway through the first class of the day which caused obvious problems.  This was especially problematic in Kindergarten when it was a large percentage of the halfday and anything that made you obviously different from everyone else did not aid in making school a comfortable experience.

So there were a handful of friends from my school bus days that I have wanted to track down and I was able to find several of them on FaceBook today.  I now have contact again with pretty much everyone who grew up around my age on my street.  Only a few of us but we can all reach each other again.  I was by far the oldest.  Most of them are about three to four years younger than me.  Anyone whom I haven’t found yet on FaceBook is a sibling of someone who is so I have some means of reaching everyone these days.  Funny how technology has brought so many people back together after so long.  Some of these kids (ha ha, kids, they are all like thirty now) I haven’t seen in nineteen or twenty years!  Unbelievable  It is things like this that really make me feel old.

Dominica got up this morning and got Liesl ready for travel as quickly as she could.  They left Peekskill around eleven thirty to drive down to Totowa, New Jersey to spend the afternoon at her old job (she officially gave up the position on February 2nd) visiting with everyone, delivering her work laptop back to them and introducing everyone to Liesl.  This was Liesl’s second longest car ride ever and her very first time ever going out in her stroller.  The weather was perfect for a drive to New Jersey.  That really worked out well.

Dominica and Liesl had a good time.  Oreo and I stayed home as I needed to work and he did not want to spend the afternoon alone in the car.  It gave me a bit more time to get stuff done that I needed to do which ended up being pretty important today.

We got all of the information that we needed today from Toronto and were able to prep the new server, shut it down, pack it up and around five this evening dad drove over to Geneseo to get the server sent out via UPS.  We decided to just do two day shipping as it ended up saving around $240 over sending it overnight!  That is a lot of money to just throw away.

It is a massive relief to have the server out the door and onto the UPS truck.  Now there is no more fiddling or worrying and on Thursday evening it should be racked and ready and after I get home from Warren I can work on it to get it running smoothly.  Getting this server up to Toronto has been a six month long process.  This past week has really been wearing on me.  So much needing to be done.

Tonight, while watching a few episodes of Murder She Wrote‘s first season, Dominica and I managed to do the rest of the plaster work on the model railroad diorama that we have been working on.  Tonight’s effort was to plaster the outsides of the diorama for strength and protection.  We are definitely improving a lot in the way that we apply plaster.

Tomorrow we should be able to start working on more scenics aspects of the layout and less structural.  Our next step is to start adding in rock faces.

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