School Buses

I thought everyone did it.  When you are growing up you think everywhere is the same as what you experience where you are.  How was I to know?

My school bus was yellow just like everywhere else, but there was a difference that I did not know was unique until many years later.  All of the school buses in our town were named.

It made things so easy.  You could identify the bus you needed to take to and from school by the name on the side.  When you reached junior high school and you had to take a late bus you knew which one would take you to your village by its name.  It was completely natural and intuitive.

Maybe it was because the place was surrounded by the ocean and folks were used to naming their boats.  In the morning you would wait for the “Barbara” to come to the bus stop and pick you up.  If you stayed late you took the “Patricia” back home.  What could be more natural. 

It was later that I found out that other towns did not have names on the sides of their school buses.  Instead all the buses said the same thing.   Such and such school or such and such county school system.  How did students figure out which one to get on?  I guess they had to look for a number or a placard in the window that would turn yellow over time.

Later I talked to my grandmother about it and she commented that my great grandfather had named one of his the “Osceola” after an Indian Chief.  In our town the buses were owned by individuals and not by the town itself.  They contracted with the town to bus school children, but they owned the bus and, like a boat, chose to name it.

She told me of the horsedrawn coaches that would bring the summer visitors from the rail station to the village inns had names like “Northern Lights”, and the “Mayflower”.

There were the “Andrea” and “Andrea II” school buses that were named for an aunt of mine.  Today when the town publishes a school bus schedule it does it by bus name and you can find names like “Osecola”, “Cotacheset”, and “Wianno” after the native names of the area.

It might be interesting if we had names for our cars and trucks, like boat owners do.  What would you call your’s?  Mine might be the “Silver Streak”.

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1 Response to School Buses

  1. Cahill says:

    Great post!

    My mother’s always named her cars (Bessy, generally) and I always thought it kind of quaint. I never realized until a couple years ago, that her mother also named her cars.

    I recently bought a Ford Ranger and I’ll be asking my daughters to help me name it. Thanks for reminding me of a bit of family eccentricity that ought to be carried forward!

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