The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

23 January 2005

Uphill both ways in the snow

Something I hadn't thought about for years, but John Owen Butler jogs the old memory: What was your school commute like?

Grades 1-2: Fraser Elementary, Corpus Christi, Texas
This was a fairly short walk for a fairly short kid — half a block down Bobalo and two blocks down Dorthy — although getting across McArdle Road had its scary aspects. I seem to remember having discovered a "short cut" through a vacant lot which turned out to be actually longer.

Grades 3-5: St. John's School, North Charleston, South Carolina
The parish (St. John's Church was next door) contracted with some fellow whose name I don't remember who provided bus service. The school was actually less than a mile away from where I lived, early on, but the way things were laid out in this area, it was a two-mile walk, so I was happy to have the bus, ancient and unreliable as it was. After about a year, we moved out northwest.

Grades 6-8: Pinewood School, Summerville, South Carolina
This was in the next county, fercryingoutloud. At the time, the school was very small and occupied an old house on the southern edge of Summerville. The "bus" fleet consisted of a group of Chevrolet Corvair Greenbriar wagons. It was a long trip up Dorchester and across Bacon's Bridge Road, so we passed the time singing Stax/Volt and Motown.

Grades 9-12: Bishop England High School, Charleston, South Carolina
After a number of experiments, what we hit upon was the ever-popular Prevail Upon A Neighbor trick. The neighbor in question was a pretty thirtysomething redhead with a Pontiac GTO, and I have no doubt that having her schlep me downtown in the morning contributed greatly to my adolescent confusion. Coming back required two walks, one down Calhoun Street to Meeting, where I caught the "city" bus (actually run by the local utility company back then), which made it to around the 4000 block of Dorchester Road. I walked the rest of the way.

Curiously, at least to me, of these four schools, only one remains in its original location: St John's. Pinewood moved out to Orangeburg Road; Bishop England is now on Daniel Island in the middle of the Cooper River. And Fraser Elementary, I understand, was razed to make room for a shopping center.

(Oh, and my college days? I bought a five-speed Schwinn and rode it all over Austin.)

Posted at 11:07 AM to General Disinterest