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Bright, Sunny Morning

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I used to ride the bus to school (pure hell, by the way). I would look through the cloudy, scratched window and see the bright, sunny day on the other side that I could not touch. I was so depressed and so envious of the little old ladies who could walk in the mornings because they were retired. The new mothers whose children could ride along on tricycles and didn’t yet know the horrors that awaited them at school. I yearned to trade lives with them for even just one day. I dreaded going to school. All K-16 of it.

Then I had a job I had to go to every morning. Rain or shine or snow or sleet or dark of time change. On sunny days, I would see the old ladies working in their yards. I would see the father training his kids how to show their calves for 4-H. I was so depressed and so envious of them. Sure, I could take a walk outside on my break at work. The problem with that—after 15 minutes, I had to return to work.

I knew the money I made at my job helped to feed, clothe, and shelter my family. But it wasn’t challenging or fun. Spending the morning in the bright sunshine—early, when the nighttime bugs are going to bed and the daytime ones are just waking up, when the drops of dew sit on each blade of grass like a pearl, when the concrete is still cool to the touch from it’s nighttime slumber, when the faint haze is just burning off as the day slowly begins to heat up, like a crockpot full of soup—THAT sounded fun.

Today*, I knew the weather forecast was for an unseasonable 80 degrees. I knew if I waited until afternoon it would be too steamy hot. So I slapped my son into his stroller and we went for a walk. This morning. This beautiful, unseasonably warm morning. I enjoyed it. I felt refreshed.

Today, someone else got to drive by and be jealous of me:)

* Written on 3/21/12

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A Tribute To Someone I Hardly Knew

When I think of Schindler’s List, I always think of a girl I went to school with named Alicia Foote.

More on that in a minute.

I met Alicia Foote in Writer’s Workshop in high school. [Then I might have thought of her as just Alicia, but now I always hear her full name in my head.] Writer’s Workshop was a wonderful class that anyone could take, from freshmen to seniors. And it was taught by one of my favorite teachers, who I sometimes believed to resemble a Panda. I thought I had him wrapped around my finger. I am sure he was totally on to me.

The first ten minutes or so of class, we were to do a free-write (wait, isn’t that what THIS VERY BLOG is? I give myself an “A”:P). The rest of the class, you could write stories, poems, etc. My asbestos friend and I ate it up. My other friend and I would eat blue raspberry blow-pops in class and turn our tongues blue.

Being the Co-Editor of the school newspaper, I spent a lot of time working on the newspaper during class. But I also found time to flirt (badly) with freshmen boys. And I became friends with a couple of freshmen girls who were in the class. One of whom was Alicia Foote. She was short with long blond hair and the biggest smile. From how I knew her, she was one of the few truly nice people I have ever known. The phrase “heart of gold” comes to mind. In any century, it is hard to find a high school student you could say that about.

So, through the year, I would talk to her in class, she wrote a little for the newspaper, and I believe I even sat with her at lunch sometimes. So, by the end of the year, when our school took five school buses of students to go see Schindler’s List in Toledo, she was sort of my friend. The seniors all claimed one bus. On the way home, after the movie and lunch, extra kids piled on to the senior bus. After all, seniors are so cool. The bus was totally overfilled. I ended up riding home on Alicia Foote’s lap. Never mind that I was three years older than her and probably 20lbs heavier, at least. She should have been on my lap, but somehow it didn’t work out that way. I still think of her like that on the bus that day.

I think the last time I saw her was when she hugged me at my graduation and my mom snapped a picture.

Alicia & I together on the occassion of my high school graduation.

Alicia & I together on the occassion of my high school graduation.

I believe she graduated in 1997. She is totally the type of person I would look up on Facebook to be friends with today. But I can’t. She died in a car accident a year or two after her graduation. She had a baby, who survived because of it’s car seat. And who will never know what a great person it’s mom was.

And yes, I cried writing this. Writing about a girl I barely knew. Who has been dead for years and probably forgotten about by half her own classmates. But I think I cry more for the loss of the kind of person I envisioned she could have grown up to be. A good, kind person. The world needs more people like that.

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