Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LV 12 = Off We Go to School, Tra La

As I indicated, we lived in the last house but one on Water Street as you headed out of town. This location placed us just eight-tenths mile from the elementary school. Each day my wife sent the kid (only one in school so far) toddling off to the seat of learning, only to watch the Heton kids next door board the school bus bound for the same destination. Mommy very soon tired of this, and Daddy was directed to "do something about that."

So I approached the Superintendent of Schools. Was I thinking "professional courtesy" or what was I thinking? Dr. McClurg was a vast, I mean huge, Irishman who had served our country honorably during WWII as captain in the USMC. He affected the same military flattop he wore as an active-duty gyrene, though it was white now, but would still have been a full head of hair had he not had it shorn weekly. At six-five and two seventy-five, he was a formidable man-mountain.

He welcomed me into his office, and we exchanged a few pleasantries, a bit of banter actually, as his school district and the one in which I worked were keen rivals on the football field or in the basketball arena. Then, getting to the point, he asked, "What can I do for you?" I succinctly explained that my child was walking nearly two miles each day to and from school, while my next door neighbor's kids were riding the corporation bus; and since it would not require an extra stop, I would appreciate it if my child could board the same bus.

"Now, Mr. Lacy, it surprises me that you would ask that. You see, the alley between your house and the Heton's is also the town limits line. It is policy that no child who lives within the village proper may ride the bus."

"Well, Dr. M, Ann would be glad to walk across the alley to get on the bus."

"But, don't you see? the line has to be drawn somewhere. If Ann rides, then Mrs. Lewis will want her kids to ride, and so on, until the driver will be stopping 50 yards from school to pick up someone who could get there faster on foot. You take my point!"

Of course I took his point, and besides as a child I had walked farther than that to get to school. Didn't kill me; wouldn't kill my kids.

How cold it can get inside one's domicile, even with the fire burning brightly.

© 2010 David W. Lacy


Andrea said...


Secondary Roads said...

And yet you did need to ask.

vanilla said...

Andrea-- Thank you.

Chuck-- Yes. Yes, I did. "Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Lisa said...

Unfortunately it's not the weather that's a factor anymore- it's kidnapping. It's statistically rare, but when it does happen it's often going to or from school.And then it gets plastered all over the news and scares parents half to death. Then the rarity of it doesn't matter to you. It's hard to set your fear aside and watch your child walk off. When we lived in Miami we actually had a cop knock on our door simply because the kids were walking along the sidewalk alone in our gated community. The world feels unsafe to people, even though I don't think it's actually changed.

vanilla said...

Lisa-- I understand the concern. And I do think the time and place make a difference, although evil has always been with us. (The incident herein recorded took place forty-seven years ago in a very small town.)