School Bus Shame

I rode the school bus.  For twelve years I rode the school bus. For twelve years I didn’t like it, but I rode the school bus. Many of those years my mother didn’t even have a car, so the school bus was the only way to get to school. My father was too busy supporting the family to take the kids to school.  Besides, public school transportation was available and free, and my family was on a strict, no frills budget. 

Not to say I didn’t have fun on the bus sometimes.  I had friends on the bus that I didn’t get to see during the school day, and when I got older and paid attention, there were even boys that drew my attention. When I was in elementary school, the school bus was where I got to see older kids, especially those in junior high and high school. I was in awe of the high school kids. They looked grown up to me. And one girl even smelled good when she got on the bus in the morning. I wanted to be like her someday.

When I was in second grade I got a little too rambunctious with one of my bus-mates and got called to the principal’s office. When Stacy and I arrived there, Bus Driver Skinner was there. He was telling Principal Darragh how badly behaved we were on the bus. I had never been so embarrassed and humiliated in my life. Mr. Skinner had never even said anything to me about misbehaving because I would have corrected it immediately rather than get sent to the principal’s office. I’ll never forget the feeling of shame when Mr. Darragh told me how disappointed he was in me. After all, I was one of his favorites, or at least he treated me like I was. When he was touring the school before he became principal he saw me in my second grade classroom and came and spoke to me and told me how pretty I was. Not many adults had ever done that. I never wanted to disappoint Mr. Darragh and now I had.

Stacy and I were dismissed with a stern warning that the next time would involve paddling. You can bet I toned it down on the bus. I may have even found someone else to sit with.  And I steered clear of that bus driver as much as I could.

Were you ever sent to the principal’s office?  Do tell!


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