Application for the Geezer Card

There is an essay required, but anyone close to meeting the qualifications almost certainly already has a story not unlike this:

Back in the day, when I was in middle school (11-13 years old), we had to walk over 3K to school in the rain and snow and sleet, and NOBODY CARED!! None of our parents rallied to have us bussed! None of them felt remotely bad for our plight! We trudged through adverse conditions for three whole kilometres in torrential downpours or baking sun, and not one of the parents in the area ever offered us a ride. I clearly remember a blizzard one year: snow was almost waist high and yet our troubles did nary make dinner table headlines. And I’m really short, so it was even higher on me!

I lived 8.7 miles (Google says so) from school. Getting there was no problem: a neighbor worked in the same general vicinity, so I rode with her. School days, however, were shorter than work days, so I had this complex scheme of walking down to the nearest city bus stop (four blocks), riding the bus to the end of its route (seven miles, 50 cents), and then walking the rest of the way (a mile and a half). This was in South Carolina, and on the coast at that, so snow and sleet were uncommon. Rain, however, was something I got to see on a fairly regular basis. I hasten to point out that the total distance walked each day fell short of 3 km.


  1. Dan Tobias »

    6 June 2014 · 7:50 am

    Uphill, both ways?

  2. McGehee »

    6 June 2014 · 7:54 am

    I sometimes got dropped off until after 5th grade; the Catholic school was on 25th Street and we lived on 42nd. Going home I either rode my bike that was dropped off with me, or if I didn’t have it I walked three blocks to catch Bus Line 9, which dropped me three blocks from home.

    6th grade, I went to public school which was at 46th Street, so walked.

    Junior-high was quite a bit farther, but having managed the commute to and from Catholic school I was up for it. And high school? Catholic again, and the bike-or-not routine kicked in again — miles farther, much of it through a rough neighborhood. Yet if I didn’t have my bike I often walked.

    But then I got a driver’s license, and then a car…

  3. CGHill »

    6 June 2014 · 8:28 am

    @DanT: It’s flat in the Carolina Low Country. Mostly.

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