When I was a wee lass, my siblings and I rode the green Plymouth and, later, yellow LTD to and from school only on rare occasions. Otherwise, day after day, we hitched rides in a yellow mode of transportation called a school bus. And not only did we ride a bus – we were relegated to the bus driver’s second run.
For those of you struggling to understand this alien term, second run means we waited after school as the bus completed its first run to take kids to their homes. (Of course, that was just in the afternoons. In the mornings, we were actually first run, but that’s another post for another day.)
Anyway, kids passed the time waiting for the bus to return to school by walking around the school building or doing homework. For the record, I never did homework whilst participating in second run. After all, it was called homework for a reason.
When the bus finally arrived back at school, we’d make a run for it and crowd around the doors like it was the last helicopter out of Saigon. I remember that our antics annoyed one bus driver in particular. To our defense, though, we had stepped onto the bus around seven o’clock that morning and some of us hadn’t had anything to eat since our 10 o’clock lunch. So, by the time four o’clock rolled around, we can’t be blamed for clamoring for an escape.
Of course, in the event of a car accident, road work or a train crossing the tracks, the bus was late getting back to the school. Oh, and sometimes, we had to haul home kids whose regular bus and/or driver had broken down or fallen ill. I’ve heard tell of kids from my generation who arrived home after school in time to watch most of their three o’clock soap opera. In grade school, I usually got home in time to watch the 4:35 p.m. episode of “The Brady Bunch” and, in high school, the second half of “Oprah.” So, I guess I shouldn’t complain.
I’m not sure if the local schools still operate second runs. Then again, from the looks of those traffic jams created by parents transporting their young’uns back and forth to school, I’m not sure they even need first runs.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.