And during those 10 years of riding the bus I had only two different bus drivers. One of the drivers was Louise Henson and the other was Doris Teague.
Sadly, it has been years since Mrs. Henson passed away. When she was the driver, her son Mike who is a few years older than me also rode her bus.
As I weighed less than a hundred pounds soaking wet, he used to refer to me as pencil neck. Of course he did this quietly enough that his mother couldn’t hear it. The result of that action would have gotten him some trouble when he got home.
It’s funny how we remember the weirdest things. I haven’t seen Mike in years. I hope he is doing well. But the years have changed me enough that pencil neck wouldn’t quite fit the description of my 51-year-old neck.
The only other bus driver I ever had was Doris Teague. Mrs. Teague and her family lived not far from us in the Keithsburg Community.
I received a letter the other day from Mrs. Teague.
She was writing to tell me that she enjoys reading my column as she knows many of the people that I write about. Several people have written after a particular column. But I believe she is the first to write me about the column in general.
Her letter was greatly appreciated and very humbling. Anytime someone mentions the column it’s borderline embarrassing because I am not a writer. I’m just a rememberer. You won’t find rememberer in the dictionary. It’s just one of those words I made up.
But hearing from someone like Mrs. Teague was especially humbling. You see, her family has been around here for a long time. She and her husband raised a brood of beautiful young women.
As a teenage boy, girls were always a hot topic. And when talking about the Teague girls, you couldn’t say the pretty one.
They were all pretty. So anytime boys would talk about one of the Teague girls, you had to be specific.
But more than outward beauty, those girls were good girls. They were and are a product of their raising. And Mrs. Teague must know when she sees their lives that she was and is a good mama.
Mrs. Teague drove a school bus for years. I remember seeing it parked by their house on Ball Ground Highway. They had a farm across from where Buffalo’s now sits. And that’s where they raised their girls.
This was a time before cell phones and cameras mounted inside the buses. We didn’t need a camera. We had Mrs. Teague.
If she said sit down we knew that’s what she meant. And back then, disobeying the bus driver was no different than disobeying the principal of the school. We kids were held accountable without our parents making pitiful excuses for us. But those days are long gone.
I feel certain that Mrs. Teague drove our bus out of love for children. I seriously doubt it was for the money. But it allowed her to be close to our generation and the generation of her girls.
There had to be days when she simply didn’t feel like doing it, but she was always there getting kids safely to and from school.
School bus drivers are some of the most underappreciated people in the entire workforce. With the huge increase in traffic nowadays, it’s a dangerous job.
And now we put cameras on school buses so we can have documentation in case there is an incident that occurs on the bus.
In my day, we had bus monitors. That was the kid that sat up front with the driver and told on the kids that were misbehaving. Bus monitors probably didn’t get invited to a lot of parties as their pool of friends was somewhat shallow.
I, too, got to sit up front on Mrs. Teague’s bus a few times. No, I wasn’t the bus monitor. I was the one the monitor told on.
You have noticed I have only referred to her as Mrs. Teague. That’s how I was raised.
But I want to thank her for getting me to and from school safely for years and holding me accountable.
She is always remembered fondly.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.