All posts tagged: School Bus

Ode to an ‘80s Station Wagon

The day I turned 16, my parents took me out into our front yard and showed me a car, which had “IT’S YOURS!” written on the windows in soap. It was a big, clunky slap in the face parked where my something-else, new and shiny (and not brown) vehicle should have been. What’s the worst thing you can do to a dorky high school teen? Make her drive a station wagon. A brown one. And not one of those real old ones with the fun flip seats in the back. This one was called the Aries K, and I think it was a Dodge. It was horrid. Mom took me for my driver’s test. It was a Friday and I knew I would pass the exam with flying colors. I had aced behind the wheel, and the written test was cake. But I did not pass the exam with any sorts of color whatsoever. I was literally finishing the test, turning back into the DMV when — SUPPOSEDLY — a school bus turned on its “don’t …

The Mermaid Tail and Other Stories About Being Different

My 8-year-old daughter asks me if kids teased me at school when I was younger. When I ask her if she is being teased at school, all she will tell me is “sometimes.” Then I wonder: are her classmates teasing her because of her imagination? My daughter has a beautiful and vivid fantasy life. The other day, she was waiting for her mermaid tail to grow because she followed all of the rituals she found in a video to turn herself into a mermaid. When the day her mermaid tail was due came and went, she was unfazed. “We live in a dry climate here in Arizona and that makes it harder to grow a mermaid’s tail,” she explained. “If we lived in San Diego, I’d have one by now.” I agree to buy her a mermaid tail online if her real one didn’t come in soon. “Were you teased when you were in school, Mommy?” “Sometimes I was,” I tell her. “Like people would call me Aliza Pizza.” I don’t tell her about the times …

School Lunch Advice From Your Older Sis

Hiya, Little Sis! How’s tricks? I was thinking about you today while standing in line to sign up for next year’s summer camp. (We’re doing this awesome Lego/Robotics/Stanford-prep thing that I should totally tell you about.) I can’t believe your little guy — my sweet nephew — starts preschool this week. Reminds me when my girls were just starting, before second grade took its toll. Oh, the salad years! I realized there’s a whole school lunch scene that’s kind of intense that you may not know about, and I thought I could give you some advice. I mean, it’s really different from when we were growing up. And since I live in Brooklyn, we’re kind of on the frontlines of a lot of school lunch trends, so maybe my experience can be useful here? I wrote down some stuff for you. 1. Dad makes the lunch. If I were to tell you only one thing, it would be this. These days, that’s his job. I know that’s a little weird because your husband travels a …

Tears of What, Exactly? Taking My Daughter to College

The crying jags started the day my daughter Amira turned 18.  All of her best girlfriends came over for dinner. They are friends she’s had since elementary school, a couple from high school and a few others from camp who came all the way to Brooklyn from upstate New York and Connecticut just to celebrate her birthday. There was a big strawberry shortcake and a strawberry cheesecake, because I couldn’t decide which one to make, and one of her friends made her a headband with a strawberry on top. Strawberries are her favorite. When Amira blew out the candles, I realized this would likely be the last time all these beautiful, wonderful girls would be together.  Girls I’ve watched grow up into women.  I cried watching her blow out the candles, which was sappy and sentimental and I hate being so… obvious, but I couldn’t help myself. Two months and a day later, Amira left before dawn to drive down to college in New Orleans with her father and stepmother and my son. I hugged her …

Betty: Boss of the Bus

Sixty minutes is a long school bus ride, especially when it’s 92 degrees in early September with no air conditioning, the seats are sticky with sweat, and every row is filled with hormonal middle schoolers. That 60 minutes seemed interminable to us, the said middle schoolers. From my 47-year-old vantage point, I know now that it must have seemed even longer to Betty, my middle school bus driver. Our ride was protracted because we were Catholic school kids in rural Southwestern PA. There wasn’t a neighborhood school on every city block. We had to wind our way through several towns and along mountain roads: Possum Hollow Road, Rustic Knob Lane, Fish Hatchery Road, Zion Church Road, Rectory Road. Reminiscing about the street names takes me right back to the mountain environment. Gorgeous wilds, sparse population, and a uniformly Christian citizenry. Not uncommon: the shack with a washer (dish-or-clothes variety) and a couch on the front porch. There was no “as the crow flies” route. The only option was to pack 72 eleven through 13-year olds …

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Marvelous Teachers Still Exist

When you get off the school bus for the first time (which, for most of us in the United States, means arriving for kindergarten), you’re usually greeted by your teacher, who has come to gather up a new set of students for the year. That teacher is also usually female. There are so many reasons for that, ones far beyond the scope of this book column — and that’s why I’m glad Dana Goldstein has written The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession. Goldstein, a scholar with the Marshall Foundation, explains a lot about how teaching became a profession mainly for woman, why teachers unionized and the effect that our culture’s shaping of teachers has on today’s classrooms. The New York Times Book Review piece on The Teacher Wars found it “meticulously fair and disarmingly balanced,” meaning that Goldstein successfully battled her way through a thicket of material without getting caught on any partisan thorns — and the result is a book that successfully reminds the reader that although there are problems …

The Start of School, Once Again…

Once the beginning of September rolls around, TV and newspapers are filled with images of preppy kids in long sleeved shirts, jeans and jackets excitedly taking on great outdoor playgrounds as they go back to school. When one grows up in Arizona, the start of the school year is simply an extended summer — it’s still 110 degrees outside, phys-ed teachers still make you run the half mile regardless of the heat index, and those images of children in long-sleeved clothes are pure fantasy. Just as the summer reached its hottest point, and the world moved as slow as molasses, that was the time that school started again. As a kid, I both loved and dreaded the end of weeknight slumber parties. The new school year was an exciting opportunity to transition another year of life – to grow, learn and stretch. It signified renewal and a chance to embark upon great adventures. By June of the following year, I’d be in an entirely new place and it would seem as though lifetimes had passed. Staples …

Margit’s Note: Can I Sit Here?

I feel a little ill-qualified to discuss this week’s issue. I don’t have little ones going off to school and I very rarely took a school bus. If we couldn’t snag a ride from my Dad, my sister and I usually walked to school, about a 15 minute trudge. We took all kinds of circuitous routes through a golf course, through tennis courts, slowly past the boy’s school, down sidewalk-less streets. We’d sometimes pick up other friends along the way. All of us sporting our magic marker-decorated bookbags, cooly slung over one shoulder. One day my sister and I were walking to school when we noticed the new substitute teacher walking behind us — clearly following us because she was lost. For some mean 14 -and 11-year-old reasoning, we decided to take our craziest route that included a trek through a bramble-filled ravine and a steep incline. As we ran down the rocky hill (the speed helped!) she followed us. When we turned around she was gone. Later that day she showed up to English …