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John, Boz and I were walking in the neighborhood the other day when I noticed these flowers behind a fence. I began to photograph them when I saw a school bus parked ahead. The sidewalk led my eye like a fast lane through a tunnel of memory.
I didn't always ride the bus to school. My mother was a teacher in my grade school and junior high. Needless to say, I had a regular ride. In high school, I usually carpooled with friends or walked when it was warm enough. On winter days, if the carpool wasn't available, I rode the bus. It picked me up at the stop sign at the end of our street, the last street in town before the cornfields.
It wasn't exactly toasty on the bus in northern Illinois in 1970, and those were the days before seat belt laws. I remember sliding from side to side on the cold seat on the way to school and just being glad I didn't have to walk all the way there in the snow.
Here in sunny, southern California all that is behind me. My friends are going through final exams, school plays, proms and graduations with their kids. Everything's different. Then again, nothing's changed.
Despite the bright yellow flowers and a sunny afternoon on the way, that school bus looks exactly like the one that used to pick me up at the end of our street on snowy, winter days.