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Most Normal Girl

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round

You never know who you're going to meet. Sometimes, people can affect you in a matter of minutes. Such was the case of the old lady on the bus today.

As I boarded the 8:45am bus from my building to go into school, I sat next to a woman who looked like she wouldn't talk much. I'm not one for getting into conversations with strangers if I don't have to - I usually bring a book to avoid conversation, but was still trying to wake up this morning. After sitting in a few minutes of traffic, the nice old lady turns to me and asks which bus route we are on. I tell her and ask where she is hoping to go. She replies that she's trying to get home - she had an early morning doctor appointment.

She goes on to tell me that she can't find any good places to go shopping around here. I agree. (I'm now thinking that maybe she's new to the area, like me, and hasn't figured out where things are just yet.) So I ask, "how long have you been here?" She tells me: three years.

I'm stunned. She's lived here for three years and she doesn't know the bus route or the local shopping malls? My question about how the old people get around and what do people do for fun is put to rest - old people don't go out unless they can walk to wherever they want/need to go. Fun is not in the vocabulary. I figure, I'm SCREWED.

She keeps chit-chatting. In no time, I learn that she moved to Cambridge to be with her son who has developed MS and has limited mobility. I also learn about her husband and what types of ailments he had before he died. I learn that she is a mom of three boys. I learn that she was a teacher (of art, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and middle school) for 35 years. And at the end of those 35 years, she got a plaque - to prove it.

It's that whole teaching part that got me. I'm in love with the 80-something year-old woman sitting next to me on the bus.

I have no doubt she was an excellent teacher. She was patient, kind, and had that "warm" personality that most of us remember of our kindergarten teachers. I tell her she's a lucky woman - and a good mom. She smiles at me and starts to tell me of some of the students she had over the years. She says that she would like to have a reunion with all of them - just to know how they turned out.

Before long, she realizes that her stop is coming up and she gets up to move toward the door. I'll get off the bus one stop away. I tell her it was a pleasure to meet her and talk with her. She says something nice to me, too. Then, she descends down the bus steps.

As the bus pulls away, she's on the sidewalk looking back at me through the fogged-up windows. She smiles with those kind eyes and gives a wave. I smile and wave back, too.

I never got her name. But I'll always remember her face. Although she wasn't my teacher, I think I learned something on that bus this morning: you never know how you're going to impact the lives of others.

Cheers to all the teachers out there.

Posted by Jessie_b :: 4:56 PM ::