Posted by: patwogan | September 27, 2008

School Transportation

The title of this post is a bit misleading.  My school transportation was my two feet for the most part.  This was true after I began attending  Peebler School.  No one in rural districts had school transportation.  I do remember one student who rode a pony to school a few times.  It was a matter of pride who lived farther from school and consequently had to walk the most distance. 

I lived a little more than a mile and a quarter from school and walked to and from school every day.  My friend lived a little up the road from our house and we met and he and I walked together.  Walking was a social occasion and no one thought anything of it.  There was another family of three children who had to walk about a mile and a half to school.  Another family attending was approximately two miles from school.  As you can tell from these numbers, the population of the school increased after the first year.    The reason for these relatively short distances from school were a result of the Kansas Legislature setting aside land for schools when the state was settled.  I don’t remember from my Kansas History just how often these lands for education occurred, but I am thinking it was one parcel for each square mile. 

I don’t remember ever hurrying to school, but I am sure we did.  We usually left early enough to have time to play before school started.  I don’t think my Mom ever worried about our being late coming home.  It was probably expected.  We really did a lot of messing around coming home.  And we sometimes got in trouble.  My friend, Marvin, had an older brother who went to high school in Independence.  He drove a car to and from school.  Marvin’s father worked as a road supervisor for the county and was responsible for maintenance.  One time Marvin and I removed some rocks which were the foundation of a bridge over a creek we crossed on the way to school.  We took the rocks out of one side and rolled them across the road to throw in the water on the other side.  The water was deeper there and the rocks made a bigger splash.  We took one or two rocks every afternoon as we walked home.  We were rolling one of the rocks across the road when Marvin’s brother drove by going home from high school.  He stopped and bawled us out for tearing up the bridge.  We hadn’t really thought about that as we were just having fun.   What was worse  he went home and told Marvin’s dad what we had been doing.  Of course, my folks found out about it, too, and Marvin and I were both in trouble.  We didn’t do that particular thing anymore.

We used to play in the snow drifts as we walked home.  The road was an east-west road and the snow would blow into high drifts on the north side of the road.  I remember that was lots of fun.  I do not like snow now, but then, the bigger the drifts, the better. 

One time after my little brother had started to school and was walking with us, a neighbor boy started teasing him.  Our dog had gotten run over and my little first grade brother was crying about it.  The boy who was a year younger than I kept teasing him about being a baby.  I got mad.  I didn’t care that he was a boy or that he was a year younger than I was or that I might get in trouble.  I beat him up!  I got him down on the ground right in the middle of the road and I beat the stuffing out of him!  I still remember how good I felt about it.  I think he finally gave up and I quit.  I also remember that except for Mom saying I shouldn’t do things like that, I did not get in any real trouble for it.

Sometimes if we hadn’t eaten all our lunch, we would stop somewhere and have snack time.  Usually it was a piece of fruit or maybe a half sandwich or something.  Mom would usually pack a little extra for our walking home snack.  There was a nice shade tree by the creek bridge and that’s where we would usually stop.   Of course, that didn’t take the place of an after school snack after we got home.

One time there was a cute little stray kitten I tried to get to follow me home.  I knew my mom would let me keep it if I said it followed me home.  I couldn’t get it to follow me, so I picked it up and zipped it up inside my sweater and carried it almost all the way.  When I got in our yard, I took it out of my sweater and told Mom it had followed me home.  Of course, what else could she do?? It had followed me home and we had to keep it.  I knew my Mom, didn’t I?  She would always give homeless strays a home.

I know riding the bus has replaced the social time we enjoyed walking together home from school, but I do think kids are missing a lot of exploring time.  Sorry to say, there are so many predators out there today that what we did would probably be dangerous.  That is something we have lost.  The feeling of safety.  It’s sad that a few rotten human beings have taken that away.

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