In which I am dragged from orbit, only to spiral to a rapid vaporous death into an engorged red sun.Monday, March 31st, 2008
When I was a *little* kid, I “ran like the Red Queen” to school at Lincoln Elementary. It was right across the street! “Stinkin’ Linkin” as I forget which jokester called it at one of the few high school reunions I’ve managed to get to. He was having a good time and he was funny and I laughed but, although I have some bad memories of Lincoln School, there were plenty of good times too and you just can’t beat being right next to the school. After all, the *playground* is there too and you can play there even when you aren’t in school.
Walking to the junior high (we only had one) and the first two years of high school could be an adventure. Nowadays, that walk for me happens quick as a wink. Back then, I dunno. I would start out at my house on Superior Street and walk down to Easterday (about six blocks) and wait (and sometimes wait and wait and wait) for my friend Helen to meet me there. We would walk a block over and cross the Johnston Street bridge and in another block and a half or so, we were there. I remember walking down there in -32 degree (Fahrenheit) weather and I remember walking through deep snow and I remember skittering along on a half-inch of ice. It was real fun when the water in the power canal was warmer than the air. Icy fog, anyone? Back then, I was wearing mini-skirts and garter belts to hold up my runny old nylon stockings. Cute? Not. Get a ride to school? Say what? Buses? The buses brought in the country kids. Anybody inside the city limits walked.
Oh yeah. You are wondering about why I stopped after the first two years of high school? No, I didn’t quit. Sheesh. That was the year that, after about a gazillion failed millages for a new high school, one finally passed and for the last two years of high school, I didn’t have to walk across the canal any more. I walked across the tundra instead. Oh, yeah, I did have my driver’s license by then but I was only allowed to drive to school when I had to go to a piano lesson afterwards. I think my favorite coat was a cute little fake leopard-skin thing with almost no insulation. And stockings again, or maybe we actually had pantyhose by then. Whatever they were, they were not up to subzero temperatures. But I did NOT get frostbite!!!!! Ever!!!
These days, everybody drives or gets driven to school. If the unique little snowflakes of The Planet Ann Arbor are more than 1.5 miles from school, they can take a bus. If they are closer than that, they usually get driven, if a “safety bus” is not an option. I am guilty too! I didn’t drive my kids to elementary school because the school is on my block. They had to pass by the deep, dark, scary woods to get there but they didn’t have to cross a street. Middle school and high school? We had some dealings with the middle school bus but I have to admit that I did a lot of driving too.
Why do we do this? Is the world *really* so much more dangerous than when I was a kid that we have to drive our kids everywhere? How did you get to school when you were a kid? Whatever age you are.