Each night lately I’ve been sorting through photographs. Hopefully someday I’ll have them all in books, but meanwhile — what memories these old photos bring back. Last night it was photos of my youngest son, including some taken the morning of his first day of kindergarten when he was just under five years old.
That first day of school is one none of us will never forget.
For some reason the school decided that day to change the afternoon kindergarten bus route without telling the parents first. This meant that instead of a quick drive home on a familiar road, my son would be the last off the bus and would be riding the bus for well over an hour on roads he had never seen before.
The driver was an elderly man who obviously was fond of children and loved to tease them in a very serious way… but my son did not know this then. So at the point when he was the last child left on the bus and the driver told him he didn’t know where he lived and didn’t think he would be able to find our house, my son believed what he said.
My poor child did everything he could think of to identify himself. He told the bus driver the name of our road, the name of the town he lived in, the name of the state, and even that he lived in the United States. He gave the bus driver his full name, the full names of everyone in our family, and even his grandmother’s name because she lived nearby and he thought that if the bus driver couldn’t find our house, perhaps he could find his grandmother’s. He gave telephone numbers for everyone he could think of, including a few out of state relatives he thought might be called to help him. Still the bus driver kept insisting he didn’t have enough information to find our house.
Eventually the bus was once again traveling on the roads my son had been expecting to see, and he was excited because now he could SHOW the way to our house… but now the bus driver insisted that he would need permission to let my son get off the bus, and since there was no one on the bus who could give that permission, the bus would have to keep going.
Finally, of course, they did reach our house and the bus did stop, but my little boy had been convinced that he would never make it home again. And because of my son’s efforts to be brave and not show how scared he was… and the bus driver’s astonishing lack of perception… the bus driver never knew how cruel his teasing had been.