By Anna Mathers
It's a nice place to sit when the sun shines, but just wait until it rains!
I would be starting school in September. When my brothers were small, there wasn't any school bus that went by our house. They had had to walk down the road and meet the bus at a small grocery and gas station called Pete's Store. But I was several years younger, and by the time I was ready to start school, there was a bus that would pick me up.
The bus went right past our house and turned around at the First Congregational Church about a quarter of a mile away. That gave me time to get ready after the bus went by the first time.
That first year, one of my brothers was still in school, and we rode together. It was nice to have someone older with me.
The bus was cold in the winter because the heat didn't come all the way to the back. Everyone tried to get on first so they could sit near the front.
In warm weather, it was hot and stuffy. There were windows, but they only opened from the top, and when the bus was full, there wasn't much air going through.
We had a long ride to and from school. It took about 45 minutes by the time everyone was picked up or delivered to their stops.
That summer, before I started school, my mother decided to drive up to Saxton's River, Vt., to see an elderly relative. We knew it would be a long drive; it would take all day to get there and back.
My mother planned for the outing several days in advance. She made sure we had a picnic lunch and supper to take with us. We didn't have money for stopping at restaurants.
My brother's 1934 Model A roadster with a rumble seat was packed with food, blankets and anything else my mother thought we might need.
Five of us were making the trip. My oldest brother, Harold, drove, and my other brothers, Clint and Bob, sat in front with him.
My mother and I climbed into the rumble seat with the food. She had made her relative a blueberry pie, and she held it on her lap so she could keep an eye on it in case we had to stop quickly.
By the time we were all loaded, it was 8 a.m. We drove to Northampton and then took Route 5 north toward Greenfield and into Vermont. We had been driving for several hours when my mother suggested we stop for dinner.
We decided to stop and eat at some picnic tables that were set up in a shady area. My mother had brought sandwiches, fruit and fresh lemonade she had made that morning. She had wrapped everything in newspaper, and the food was still nice and cool. Lunch tasted so good in the wonderful shade. We were tired of riding by then, so we really enjoyed the rest and the delicious food.
Before we ate and after we finished, we washed our hands in a small stream that ran near the tables. We splashed the cool water on our hot faces and arms. I was allowed to take my shoes and socks off and dangle my feet in the water.
We stayed there for about an hour. Then my mother thought we had better start along again. We were about a half-hour from our destination.
We enjoyed our visit with my mother's relative. Around 3 o'clock, we decided to start for home. The trip would take several hours, and we would stop again and eat our supper of sandwiches and fruit.
About a half-hour from home, we heard thunder, and soon the sky was full of lightning. We were running right into the storm. It started to rain heavily, and it was getting very hard for my brother to see where he was going.
My mother and I were drenched in the rumble seat. We tried to close the back of the seat somewhat, but we were still getting very wet.
I was so scared of the thunder and lightning that I started to cry. I had worn a pretty blue dress with a yellow duck embroidered on the skirt, and I was upset that the duck was getting wet. My mother told me that the rain wouldn't hurt it, but I could not be comforted. I thought my dress would be ruined.
It was still pouring when we came to an old open barn by the side of the road. My brother drove into the barn, and we stayed there with the sweet-smelling hay for several minutes while the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed.
When the storm finally stopped, we backed out of the barn. We were very glad that the barn had been there.
The rest of the ride home was uneventful, except for when we stopped to help a motorist at the side of the road. He had run out of gas, and he and his family were standing by the car.
It wasn't far to the nearest gas station, so we offered to take his gas can and fill it for him. He was happy that he could stay with his family, and he thanked us for being so nice.
It was getting dark by the time we reached home. We were glad to be home and be able to dry off.
We took several other rides in the rumble seat, but those trips were closer to home -- and considerably drier.