Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Afternoon Bus Ride

Previously, I’ve told of some of the activities provided here at The Grand Court, but the Bus Rides have not been mentioned.

Here’s one:

On the Activity Schedule for this day, it just said “Afternoon Bus Ride”.

Now, we’ve taken rides before: John Bryan Park; Mystery Rides; Young’s Dairy; picnic at the Dam: Airport Café in Urbana; etc. For each of them we knew the destination - at least all but the Mystery ones.

On this one, no destination was listed.

About 10 Residents plus Timi, our Lifestyles Program Director and present bus driver, got in the bus, not knowing where we were going.

Here’s Timi and our bus:

As we were leaving the Parking Lot, she said,

“Where do you guys want to ride to today?”

I waited about half a second (to give everyone the chance to say something), and I said “MECHANICSBURG. I’ll show you where I grew up.”

Everybody said, “Yippee!”


But we set off for the ‘Burg anyway.

She drove east on Villa Road to Route 4; then left toward our destination. (Wonder of wonders, she knew how to get there. Must be a BIG town!)


We got near the “cut-off” for New Moorefield, and I said,

“Turn right at the next road - into New Moorefield.”

Timi said, “Well…do you want to go to Mechanicsburg, or New Moorefield?”

“Both”, I said. “That road used to be Route 4, and goes right through the village.”

She turned.

Arriving at “downtown New Moorefield”, I said,

“Turn left at the intersection, and we’ll go right back to Route 4”.

She did, and we did.

Before we turned though, I related how - maybe 60 years ago, Jean and I drove through New Moorefield (only way to go from Springfield to the ‘Burg then), and our car broke down, right in “town”.

It was late - maybe 11 PM. We were returning home from Springfield, and our car stopped right there.

We knew Jean’s mother would be coming by in a half hour or so, on HER way home from her job as a Binder Foreman at Crowell Collier on West High Street in Springfield.

Pretty soon, (as we used to say in the ‘Burg), we saw her mother’s car coming right for us. We got to the edge of the street, and yelled and waved, to stop her.

She never saw, nor heard us. She drove right past us.

What to do?

“Well”, I said, “Since I left my Cell Phone at home--” ( in 1949? Just kidding) “we woke up someone in the ‘town’ and called her dad to see if he or her mother could come back and pick us up. They did.”

Back to THIS story:

Arriving in Mechanicsburg, our driver said, “Where to now, Mike?”

“Keep on going right through the city (kidding again - town) ‘til we get to East Sandusky where I grew up”.

We drove right past 169 East Sandusky, where I lived from late 1924, until I entered the Army in 1943.

After that, we turned left and ended up on Pleasant Street, and
I pointed out where Jean lived when I courted her in 1942 and ‘43.

Across the street was the house we later lived in when Jim and John were very little. That’s where we lived when I was hired as a Control Room Engineer at WMBI, the pioneer Chrisrtian Radio voice of The Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago.

We drove on up Pleasant Street, and I pointed out where Bud Perry lives, and where I went each morning in about 1943 to drive a truck for him. When I used to walk from our house on Sandusky Street to Bud’s house on Pleasant, I passed by Jean’s house each day, and gave her a “whipporwill” whistle, while she was still in bed.

She was thrilled.


Turning left on High Street, we passed by houses that I began recalling in my mind who lived there years ago, then we passed by the home of Jean’s sister-in-law - Doris Anderson. Then further west to the NEW building of the Mechanicsburg Public Schools - where I spent 12 years trying to learn what I needed to know to get along in this world.

(NOT in THAT building, of course!)

That took us to Main Street, where we turned left, went down the hill, and past the old R.W. Schetter Jewelry and Radio store where I repaired radios and televisions after World War II.

Going farther down Main Street, I pointed out the building in which my store, “Maddex Radio and TV” was located, in 1952 and ‘53.

We turned left at the next intersection (embarrassedly, I can’t remember the name of the street), went to “Creamery Street”, then north back to Sandusky.

Timi said, “How do you want to go back home, Mike?”

“Whatever you want, Timi.”

“I think I’ll drive to Urbana, then home”, she said.

About two miles from Urbana on Route 29, I said,

“There’s an Ice Cream store on North Main Street. If you go there, I’ll treat everybody to an ice cream cone.”

She said, “What about McDonald’s? It’s right on 29. They have Sundaes for a buck apiece.”

“Go for it!”, I said.

We pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot, and we all “piled out”.

Inside, I told the clerk that there were eleven of us, “and they’re ALL my children. I want to buy a Sundae for each of them”.

“Right on”, the clerk said. (I think that’s what she said.)

We all ate our Sundaes, then got back on the bus.

“Thank you, Daddy”, they all said, individually.

“You’re welcome, young ‘uns!”

We got back to The Grand Court in fine shape.

I’ll betcha Timi never asks us AGAIN where we want to go.

Don’t you think?

Son-of-a-gun! I might even ask her to drive us to Chicago and look at 2728 North Racine Avenue.

Nah! It’s too far, on a handicap bus.

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