Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Busdriver and the Blotch


The fifth grade holds many memories for me. During its first three months—September, October, and November of 1946—a neighbor daily molested me in his car. This happened as he drove my brother and me and his own children to and from St. Mary’s Grade School. In January, I wrote three postings about Mr. Jackson. To read the first of those three, click here.
            The fifth grade, however, also holds wonderful memories for me. Sister Mary McCaulay began to teach us how to craft sentences. Late last year, on my writing blog, I shared three stories about how she began with prepositions, then introduced the building blocks of sentences, and finally helped us construct paragraphs. Thus began my love affair with words and writing.

            My introduction to the memorizing of poetry also enhanced fifth grade. I mentioned the joy of this in my posting last Wednesday.
            A final memory from fifth grade always brings a smile to my face. I hope you, too, will enjoy this story.
            After my parents confronted Mr. Jackson, I rode the city bus to school. Its route brought it out into the countryside. Each morning I’d climb aboard the bus at the juncture of Kentucky and Dickinson roads.


A 1930s school bus that came before the yellow ones we’re now used to.

            When school ended each day, I could either board the bus by St. Mary’s or walk down Liberty Street and hail down the bus whenever it came by. I mostly chose to do the latter because that meant I could walk several blocks with my best friend: Barbara Ann.
            I shared two stories about Barbara Ann way back in October 2012. The first had to do with preparing to receive First Holy Communion. The next concerned the mishap on that day of celebration. We were in second grade then and we remained fast friends throughout grade and high. Our friendship endures and she called me for my birthday on Monday.
            By the fifth grade, Barbara Ann and I had become connoisseurs of giggling. Gigglers par excellence. Anything and everything could make us giggle. And did.
            Daily we walked down Liberty Street giggling about what Jackie had said when Sister Mary McCaulay asked him to pick his favorite preposition. Giggling about what John Tom had for lunch. Giggling about what an astounding jump-rope jumper Judy was. Our giggling itself made us giggle.
            And as we giggled, the pee began to dribble down my legs, wetting my cotton panties. I’d walk nine blocks with Barbara Ann, giggling and peeing all the way. Then she’d turned left to go down the street to her home and I’d wait for the bus to wheeze to a stop and pick me up.
            The seats in this bus were leather or something that seemed like leather. Maybe naugahyde. So of course, when I sat on them with wet panties, I left an imprint—a large wet blotch. And since I mostly sat in the same seat each day, that blotch got bigger and darker and more obvious as the school year went on.
            Finally one day in early April, I boarded the bus, greeted the welcoming driver, and started down the aisle. Before I could go more than a step or two, he called me back. “Dolores,” he began in a whisper, “I can’t let you sit down on the bus anymore.”
            “Why?”
            “The boss said so.”
            “So I can’t take the bus?”
            “Oh, you can ride. You just can’t sit down." He paused and then whispered more softly. "Do you know why?”             
             “Did I do something wrong?”
            “It’s the spots you leave behind.”
            Oh.
            “Do you want me to walk home?”
            The road out into the countryside was narrow with one lane going each way and deep culverts along the side. Cars came barreling down that country road. In truth, I was a little scared to walk those three miles home.
            “No, Dolores. As I said, you can ride the bus home, but you’ll just need to stand up here instead of sit.”
            “Stand here by you?”
            “You can stand in the stairwell. And we can talk.”
            During those final weeks of fifth grade, the bus driver and I became fast friends. I told him about my classmates and what we were learning. He told me about his two preschoolers and the funny things they did.
            We talked about the Blues—they were the Kansas City Triple A baseball farm team for the Yankees. And we talked about reading. He liked Zane Gray and I liked fairy tales and books like Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland and Peter and Wendy.

Hans Brinker tying on his sister Gretel’s ice skates.
            
The friendship between the bus driver and myself continued throughout all the years I took the bus home because that stairwell became Dolores' throne. The truth is that I never stopped giggling with Barbara Ann . . . and I never stopped peeing!

All photographs from Wikipedia.

63 comments:

  1. A belated Happy Birthday - Hope you still don't have the same problem when you giggle.

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  2. Wow! I love that the bus driver didn't shame you about any of it, he just befriended you. What a great experience that must have been to have an adult male be kind and friendly to you after the injustices you had suffered at the hands of Mr. Jackson. I also love that your friendship with Barbara Ann has endured all these years. What a gift!

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    1. Dear Kari, I'm so blessed in Barb's friendship. And the bus driver was a superb antidote to Mr. Jackson. Peace.

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  3. That problem comes and goes (pun intended) with age...young and old!!! hahaha... Ooh and Happy Belated Birthday!!!

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    1. Dear Turquoisemoon, yes, I have the problem now too! Pads are essential! Peace.

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  4. What a kind bus driver. The antithesis of Mr. Jackson. Happy belated birthday to you. Mine was Sunday. My brother's Monday. My parents told me I would be receiving a birthday present, a new brother or sister. Wasn't that nice! NO. So, he picked his own birthday.

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    1. Dear Joanne, a true antithesis. I was so blessed in that something that could have turned out badly, turned out so well for me. My brother was born just three years and four weeks after I was. So whatever day of the week my birthday falls on, his falls on the same day. It's a good way to remember! Peace.

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  5. Happy belated birthday to you, Dee. The story about the bus driver is wonderful, and I too am glad he was a good soul who cared about fixing the problem and becoming your friend. A really good story! :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, I do so love this story. He was, as you say, "a good soul." And we had a lot of fun as he drove along the roads out in the country. Whenever anyone needed to get off the bus, he'd open the door and I'd step down to the street. Then the passenger, mostly children, would get off, and I'd set back in. He'd close the door and away we'd go! Peace.

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  6. What a great bus driver. I'm glad I'm not the only one who giggles and pees.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Dear Janie, I knew we had a lot in common!!!!! Peace.

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  7. This maneuvered around my cynicism(today that hit for a bit); what a great bus driver. Lessons of living with kindness.

    Happy Happy Birthday. ~Mary

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    1. Dear Mary, thank you for the birthday greeting. I'm 77 now and I'm thinking that this year is going to be a real adventure. You are so right about that bus driver. He came into my life when I was fearful of men and he made such a difference. Peace.

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  8. I'm so glad there was a bus driver like that in your life, particularly during that traumatic year. I'm also so very thankful you and Barbara Ann found each other and were able to giggle so joyfully in the aftermath of what you experienced.

    That you still have each other, and are still giggling, is a joyful blessing to me. I love the wonder of true friendship. As always, this is so very well told.

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    1. Dear Shelly, Barbara Ann and I giggled all the time, but at home I did no giggling for fear that it was the reason they'd left me behind when they went to Parsons right before I started kindergarten. I think Mom and Dad came back and thought they'd meet the effervescent child they'd left behind and instead they found a very solemn child. And I continued to be that way through most of my growing up. But with Barb I felt safe and I could giggle. She and I still giggle together! Peace.

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  9. The bus driver showed great kindness, which I hope continued as long as you knew him.

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    1. Dear Susan, yes, it did continue.

      About the A-Z challenge. You first three postings are so strong. You're such a gifted writer, Susan, with true creativity. Peace.

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  10. It's nice for a young child to know there are really good people out there, isn't it?

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    1. Dear Fishducky, yes, it's so reassuring and gives a sense of security and safety. Peace.

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  11. Cute post, Dee.... Giggling and peeing go hand in hand I think...And --as I have 'aged'---sneezing and peeing go hand in hand... ha ha ha

    Glad you and the bus driver became friends. That was special I'm sure...

    Do you still hear from or see Barbara Ann?

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Dear Betsy, Barbara Ann and I are still friends. She lives in Arkansas and I'm here in Missouri, but we talk on the phone every few weeks and she called me on my birthday. Her birthday is April 10 and so I need to buy a card for her tomorrow. Peace.

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  12. I loved this story, but mostly I really loved that the bus driver was very subtle about your "spots". So wonderful that there were good people in your life. ((HUGS))

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    1. Dear Juli, he was so subtle. He didn't embarrass me at all. And thank you for those hugs! Peace.

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  13. First of all, I hope you had a very happy birthday.

    The bus driver was indeed a very kind man who understood children. I am happy that your problem gave you a good friendship for many years.

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  14. Dear Arleen, thank you for the birthday wishes. I did have a lovely day--lunch with a cousin, supper with my brother and his wife and their oldest daughter, gifts, e-cards, e-mails, postal cards, phone calls. It was such a celebration of being 77. I'm ready for another year!
    Peace.

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  15. What a lovely supportive bus driver. I hope his life was full of the magic and compassion he gave to you.

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    1. Dear EC, I, too, hope that. Life is so mysterious. People come into our lives when we need them most and then they pass out of it and they go on and we go on and yet they have touched our life and nothing is ever the same again. Peace.

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  16. How nice that after your awful experience with Mr. Jackson, you met such a special and kind man in that bus driver.
    I too have kept a friend from my childhood. We met in the 2nd grade and are still like sisters.
    Belated Happy Birthday.

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    1. Dear Arkansas Patti, I'm so glad to learn that you too have a friend from second grade. That's when I met Barbara Ann. I'd gone to a country school for first grade and then to St. Mary's for second and for the rest of grade and high school. She was and is such a loving, cheerful person. Peace.

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  17. Dear Dee, my giggles spill over as well, both as a child, and even more so now that I've ripened in life. Such a kind man to be part of your life just then. Isn't it wonder how these kind folks seem to step into our lives just when we need them the most?

    Happy Birthday! April is a lovely month to celebrate and you get to do it all month.

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    1. Dear Penny, I'm just so glad that you still get the giggles. I seldom do except when I'm with a special friend and we just seem to tickle one another's funny bones.

      Thank you for the birthday greetings. I'm planning to celebrate not only in April but for the whole coming year! Peace.

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  18. There are kind people in our lives that we never forget. I'm glad you had that bus driver who showed such wisdom.

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    1. Dear Lorna, you are so right. I've never forgotten that bus driver. And he truly was wise. Peace.

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  19. What a sweet story, Dee, and how kind that bus driver was. He turned what could have been an embarrassing and difficult situation for you into an opportunity to create a real friendship with an adult outside your family, something most of us only achieve as adults.

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    1. Dear Perpetua, yes, having an adult friend when we are children is, I think, such a gift. The fact that an adult respects and values us--an adult who isn't family--so helps us develop self-worth. Peace.

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  20. Sure sounds like one great guy, there are always a few people who always leave their mark. Thanks for stopping by too over at my zoo and glad they enjoyed as well.

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    1. Dear Pat, thank you for stopping by. I've been so lucky/blessed in my life because so many people have left "their mark" and helped me become the person I am today. I need to spend some time at your "zoo" and really soak in your poems and stories. Peace.

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  21. Now I'm giggling too, feeling like I just read one of fishducky's posts.

    Thank you for your comments on my A to Z journey through life in these United States. I'm leaving out much of the present because I covered life in the canyon in my first A to Z, two years ago. So a lot from the past. I may even mention our drive through the Ozarks, but I'm not sure.

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    1. Dear Inger, thanks for the comparison to Fishducky--a rare honor. Your A to Z postings are truly grabbing my attention. I'd love to learn about your drive through the Ozarks. My grandmother O'Mara lived there and I spent much there each summer until I was around 8. Peace.

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  22. I think that bus driver came into your life at a perfect time. But I have a feeling that you blessed his life just as much as he blessed yours.

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    1. Dear Elisa, how kind you are. Peace.

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  23. LOL..great story...such a sweetheart the bus driver was..

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    1. Dear Karleen, he was, indeed, a sweetheart! Peace.

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  24. Dee, this is an adorable story! You have had some of the most unusual experiences. LOL! This one is funny, and not tragic like some you've shared. As a child I had much the same problem. I guess I had a very weak bladder, but it didn't take much for me to lose control. Ha! I don't remember too many kind words being shared about it, though. The bus driver was a very gentle and caring person to find a way not to shame you!

    I hope you've had a very happy birthday week, my friend How wonderful to hear from Barbara Ann. :-) ox Debra

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    1. Dear Debra, I seem to dwell on those sad stories. Really there are a lot of funny ones I could tell. I think I need to do that for a while! I'm sorry to learn that you had the same problem. For me, it's continued!!! I did have a lovely birthday and this past week, I've thought some deep thoughts about aging and belief and being. It's time for spring cleaning in my mind. Peace.

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  25. Thanks for your comments on my recent posts. The more I read of your writing, the more I realize how much we have in common. It's fine that you call me Jann on my blog. #1Nana was the name I used when I first signed up to blogger, but I've always had it linked to my email with my full name.
    Jann aka #1Nana

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    1. Dear Jann, I'm interested in discovering the things we have in common. So I'll keep returning to your blog!!! Peace.

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  26. I had a close friend with whom I did a lot of laughing and more than once until one or the other of us peed our pants.

    He sounds like one fine bus driver. :)

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    1. Dear Teresa, I think a lot of little girls do this. The problem is when one big and older girl does it!!!! Me! And yes, he was "one fine bus driver." Peace.

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  27. Well, that was an unusual way to get to know a bus driver. I never got to ride a school but and I always wanted to. I lived only a mile from school so I had to walk and then walk home for lunch, then back to school. No wonder everyone was lean in those days. I think giggling until you pee your pants is always in style.:)

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    1. Dear Manzanita, we did do a lot of walking when we were young, but you really put in the miles--four miles a day! Wow!

      And...... I've always wanted to be in style!! Peace.

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  28. What a funny story! An unlikely beginning to an unlikely friendship. Definitely meant to be! :-)

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    1. Dear Emily, I'm glad you enjoyed the story! Yes---definitely meant to be. Peace.

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  29. O dear, and in all that time it never occurred to either of you to go for a pee before you left school? Or maybe sneak into the bushes by the side of the road if the urge became too great? My mum would have had me lined up at the doctors for ‘incontinence’ if I’d come home with soaking wet knickers every day.

    How different things are in different countries.

    I am glad that you had funny and giggly moments as well as the harrowing ones you retold in previous posts. Children should giggle, it’s what childhood is all about, being silly and innocent.

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    1. Dear Friko, I had many funny and giggly moments but most of them were away from home where I was always worried that I'd do something that would make my parents abandon me. And yes, I so agree with you that childhood is all about being silly and innocent. Too many children today don't have that children. Peace.

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  30. Sadness and Happiness- one helps to compensate for the other.

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    1. Dear Pam, so very true. Thanks for dropping by. Peace.

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  31. Nothing better than laughing til you pee with a dear friend! What a nice bus driver not to shame you. If only someone had thought to give you a feminine hygiene pad!

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    1. Dear Michelle, yes, nothing better. The thing is that I don't think feminine hygiene pads were available then. If they were, I certainly wasn't aware of them. By the time I was in college, however, their were pads were when a woman had her period. Peace.

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    1. Dear Michelle, thanks so much for the birthday wishes. I had a lovely birthday filled with greetings from family and friends. And this month has been filled also with a number of surprises. Peace.

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  33. My goodness you are so fortunate to have met up with such a kind bus driver.

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