Friday, March 5, 2010

The School Bus Ride I'll Never Forget


When I was five, we lived in Oakdale, Long Island, New York. Oakdale was a beautiful, artsy, historical town. The Vanderbilt family spent many summers there-- their estate was called Idle Hour. My elementary school was also named Idle Hour as a tribute to the Vanderbilts, I presume.

In kindergarten, I somehow ended up on a school bus. I never took the bus home. I was usually picked up by a babysitter. I think the story goes something like this. It was snowing and the school did an impromptu early dismissal. An unknowing aide ushered me onto the school bus. Too shocked and scared being on this bus I didn't belong on, I remember passing my house. The bus kept going... I saw my mom in front of our house. She was shoveling snow. She must have taken the day off. Mom worked as a city teacher in Queens and the commute was awful from Suffolk to Queens, especially on a snow day... and city schools never close.

I remember tapping on the window. My mom couldn't hear me. Nobody cared. I think I piped up, "That's my house! Stop." The bus didn't stop. Nobody heard me. I cried. A random little girl told me to come home with her--she must have been my classmate. I did what she told me to do. It just seemed like a more logical thing compared to being stuck back at the school, all alone on the back of a bus in a blizzard. Wouldn't my family wonder where I was? Would anyone know how to find me?
At her house, I remember her mom making us pasta from a can, Beefaroni perhaps?  My mom would never allow us packaged foods like SpaghettiOs, Shake 'N Bake, Hamburger Helper and Manwich (their 1970s commercials, fun jingles and slogans made me curious, so I tried them in adult-life, turned out I wasn't missing anything).

There are two things good Italian families from New York do not do. One: purchase canned pastas. Two: serve milk with marina sauce. This nice non-Italian American family did both and I refused to eat --something even as a kid I rarely did.

Long story short, as my memory is failing me a bit ... My family finally found me. I thought I'd be at this weirdo Beefaroni-eating family's house forever. I remember my mother saying that hours had passed and they had no idea where I was. I think the Beefaroni parents waited a while before finally calling my folks. I don't even know how they got their number since I'm sure at age five I was lucky if I knew how to spell my last name.

From that day on, I have this recurring dream that I'm on this school bus and I'm lost and sometimes I'm on Long Island. Sometimes I'm in New York City and sometimes I'm just in the middle of nowhere. I wonder if that incident has something to do with my dreams?!

17 comments:

Lisa Marie said...

That is horrible, Ally!!!!! Oh this made me sad, you having to live with The Beefaroni's!

BebeProcaWood said...

HA! I did the same thing. Except I rode the bus till the end and the driver wanted to know why I was still on the bus and where should I be! :P My mom DID see me on the bus...as I waved and we drove off.

Copyboy said...

Went through a similar thing, minus the Chef Boyardee. Sounds like you had it waay worse. : (

Jerry said...

Wow that sucks! I hated school buses in school. I never had to ride one unless it was a field trip I really wanted to go on. They are creepy to me.

Ya know being of Mexican/American descent, I have to say, I like Beefaroni. Though I think of it as a lazy man's food and not an actual pasta dish.

TS Hendrik said...

Yeesh, I can see how that experience would leave you with bad dream. I had a moment like that once, but it thankfully got resolved quickly.

I ate canned pasta at a friends when I was a kid and hated it. Once was more than enough.

Amber said...

As traumatizing/scary as this experience may have been, it's a really awesome story.

That mystery little girl was actually pretty cool, saying that you could come home with her. I wonder if she still invites strangers from the bus over to her house.

bizzimommiofboyz said...

"Following you from http://bizzimommi.blogspot.com Happy Follow Friday

Alice in Wonderland said...

I'm English, and I have only sampled these things while I was in America, but as a vegetarian, I do eat a lot of pasta, but I like to make my own.
I've always had a fear of school buses too!

Thank you for commenting on my site, I'm now a new follower!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

My son fell asleep on the bus and didn't get off at his stop. Fortnately, the bus driver found him and brought him back a short time later.

I've always loved Franco American Spaghetti, but the company must have been sold to Campbell's and now I can only find Spaghetti-o's which I won't eat...YUCK! I believe they've discontinued the spaghetti. I didn't have it often...just as a special treat once in a while.

Erika said...

That sucks. I totally feel for ya.

I have to admit, I have always loved and still love spaghetti o's. Throw some american cheese on those (which normally I refuse to eat american cheese) and I set.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I didn't endure scary bus trips, but did survive all those horrible "food" items you reference - e.g., every form of hamburger and tuna helper ("when you need a helping hand," which, apparently, mom always did).
Cute post nonetheless.
Cheers,
Robyn

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

Oh my goodness! I can sympathize.... Almost the same thing happened to me! I think I was in first grade when I accidentally got on the wrong bus. A little while into the trip, I noticed we weren't going the regular way, but not wanting to rock the boat (or the bus), I just kept quiet in the back of the bus.

Until I got scared as they pulled into the bus depot.... The bus driver found me in the fetal position with tears streaming down my cheeks on the bench seat in the back of the bus....

Eventually they found out where I lived and got me home.... But I've been scarred for life!

joe said...

No offense to any Chef Boyardee fans, but that stuff's nasty...

joe said...

"Living with the Beefaroni's"... hahah

Heather McDougle said...

I'm following you from Friday Follow!
Heather
http://www.ratherbechangingdiapers.com/

Kato said...

Oh boy. Scary! You must have been terrified as a little one!

Your description of driving by your house and seeing your mom reminded me of the opening dream sequence from A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Revenge.

This has jogged a scary bus memory for me too! When I write it I will have to link back to you here!

And HAHAHAHA to Beeferoni-eating!

Powdered Toast Man said...

I had a similar incident where i got off the wrong stop but was picked up by another bus that took me to the middle school where I cried like a little girl.

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