For the Record Herald

Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 4.28.13

WEST MILTON - The latest Milton Memories recording session, held on April 9, discussed school bus drivers. A panel of 10 retired bus drivers shared stories of their many years of driving Milton-Union children. They drove kindergartners, special needs children, middle and high school age, and vocational school kids.

The panel consisted of Kenny and Lucille Kauffman, Bernadine Bridenbaugh, Pat Miller, Sally Lutz, Evelyn Bowman, Hilda Spitler, Nellie Besecker and Norma Helstern. Bridenbaugh shared how important it was to treat kids fairly and with respect and to let them know where you stood on the things that matter.

Miller shared about having bus problems while returning a bus load of girls from Urbana. Just as she pulled into the parking lot of a little pizza place on 235, the bus quit. The owner was just locking up but welcomed them in made pizzas for the group while they waited for Kenny to bring them another bus.

Lutz talked about the food prepared (in “Barb Jay’s Kitchen”) and served by the OPSE members at sport events to raise money for student scholarships.

Bowman shared about a boy from Laura who repeatedly stood so close to the bus that she couldn’t get the door open. Years later a young man in a store recognized her and explained that he was the boy she had to tell over and over not to stand so close to the door.

Spitler shared that, more than once, she saved a child from being hit by a car passing her bus as the child began to cross the road.

Besecker’s special needs bus grew from a 45 minute run to almost eight hours. She told of, while picking up children on the Dayton route, she and her aide had to use a flashlight to find house numbers.

On Helstern’s first trip she felt a movement on the back of her head. When she got home her husband asked her why she had rubber bands in her hair. She also talked about getting caught at a wrestling meet in Germantown when the 1978 blizzard hit.

They all agreed that they enjoyed those years as they watched their students grow up.
They all spoke highly of Kenny and Lucille, Kenny as a hard working and fair bus foreman, and Lucille as a fellow bus driver and a helpmate to Kenny. They mentioned several times how Kenny always backed them up, as well as school administrators like Ed Lendenski, Charles Tomlin, Dick Steiner and others.

To hear all their stories, tune in to local access Channel 5, purchase a DVD, or visit the Milton-Union Library and borrow one. For further information, call Barb at (937) 698-6559 or Susie at (937) 698-6798.