Monday, October 3, 2011

The Old Bus

Bill was one of a group of twenty kids who were the first to go to Franklin School the year it opened. He started the first grade when the school opened in 1926 and graduated in 1939. In a conversation with his sister, Bill told that before Franklin was built, there were one room schools since kids had to walk to school. He went by the name of Leonard back then. William Leonard Kinnison.

I stood at the end of the lane waiting for bus #16. Louie was our bus driver. I rode the bus with his daughter, Patsy, who was a year older than me. The same Patsy wrote to me after reading my column about Franklin School. She provided me with this history from her brother Bill.

I never thought much about the way my parents got to school. I guess I thought they walked or were taken by their parents. They never talked about a bus. I thought of my grandmother watching her children walk down their lane to meet the bus and of my mother standing by the mailbox waiting for it to pick her up. I tried to envision them sitting on the old bus in the rain and in the snow. How many kids were on the bus? Was it just one bus or were there several? What was it like to be a kid back then going from a one room school to a big school with two floors of classrooms? Bill more than likely rode that bus with my parents. His story is theirs as well.

Patsy gave me a gift by sharing Bill's story. I have a new appreciation of the history of the old, brick school.
I wonder if Bill's dad decided to be a bus driver when he took this picture of his son getting into that first Model T school bus heading to Franklin School. I write this for Patsy, Bill and their father, Louie.

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