Get On the Bus!

stay-tunedComing tomorrow (and you knew it would): The latest change in the special election for Memphis Mayor.  I LOVE politics in this town!

First, let me say it’s good to be back on the Internet. I was talking to the guy from the phone company about how crazy people get when they loss access.  It’s amazing. I’ve spent the majority of my life without it, and actually have things to do when it’s out… but it’s a really tough adjustment to make. Turns out the modem went bad (just like I thought). Second time that’s happened since I’ve been back in Memphis. I think AT&T is trying to save a little money with a cheaper model (an idea seconded by the service guy).

No Notice?

No Notice?

Anyway, I’ve been watching and reading the coverage of the school bus mess in Memphis. I don’t want to believe that the school system would enact such a widespread change without informing parents at all… but I am willing to accept that they didn’t do enough to make sure parents had that information.

Getting There on Foot

Getting There on Foot?

I was going to go on about how there’s too much dependence on making sure kids get rides to school; after all, I don’t think I got a single ride to school between 1st and 8th grades. But, I know how spread out Memphis is, and kids don’t always live a short walk from school anymore. When I first moved back here, my apartment complex was on South Germantown Road, directly across from an elementary school.  Busy street with no sidewalks.  Certainly not safe for walking. So there was an incredibly long line of cars in both directions when school was in session.

I went back and did a quick check. My first elementary school was only three-tenths of a mile from home. And was straight down my street. We had a district shift the next year, my new school was a half mile away. It was also straight up a residential street.

My long-distance traveling to school didn’t start until junior high (yes, I’m old enough to pre-date “middle school”).  It was 1.2 miles from home.  But, there was a group of us from elementary school who always made the walk together. We moved the year I started high school – it was almost 2 miles away, but a straight shot up the street we lived on. Taking public transit would have turned a 20-minute walk into a a trip downtown and a wait for a transfer that would have added about an hour to my travel time.

Dad got my older brother a car when he started high school… but he’d gotten a scholarship to the swanky private boys school on the other side of town… about 20 miles away.  When my brother headed off to college, Dad traded that car and his car in for one new car for him… my grades and test scores weren’t up to scholarship level for the Columbus Academy… so I got to walk to good old East High.

Back to Memphis. I don’t know why the school system didn’t anticipate the hue and cry over changing routes. Even if there was enough notice, school system folks should have been on every morning news show for the few days leading up to and including the first day of school. And then I see the schools are putting some of the blame on the contractor running the buses for showing up at the wrong locations… A co-worker spotted a bus driver basically parked in an intersection, trying to figure out which way to go. Rehearsals anyone? Somebody’s getting an “F”for failing this test.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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3 Responses to Get On the Bus!

  1. Michael says:

    Great stuff…Mom always liked you best.
    Enjoyed reading your writing.
    In Gainesville GA this weekend…
    you closeby?

    • Doug Johnson says:

      Happy birthday bro… Wish I could hook up, but have a very important event in town Saturday that I cannot miss… Thanks for the compliment (I never wrote a book, but I read one…)

  2. Andy's Twin says:

    When I was a child, I had to walk 10 miles through the rain and snow to get to school. Uphill. With no coat. Barefoot. No, wait, that wasn’t me….musta been grandpa.

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