Thursday, February 15, 2024

“What happens when you miss the bus” by Sherry ‘Cherry’ Miller


My first day of kindergarten I missed the bus. It actually missed me. Literally, drove right past without the driver seeing me. We lived in the middle of nowhere, no neighbors within a mile, no kids to play with. Still,  I was very happy. It was a gorgeous day. I played with my imaginary friends, hung out with my cat, and took my doll, Suzie for a walk in her stroller.

The next day the bus stopped. I knew I should have cut the cord on the phone, That way my mom could have not called the bus driver, F--- in my head. We could swear in my house; no one cared.

The very shy, introverted small me looked at that big step to get on the bus with trepidation. I did not want to get on the bus. Who would take care of my cat, walk Suzie, and talk to my imaginary friend Penny? Apparently, Penny, Suzie, and the rest of the gang were not allowed in school. What kind of place was this?

I looked back at my mom who was just a child herself at 22 sending her first born off to school. She was not crying, just seemed proud of herself that she got the bus to stop. Mom had an infant to take care of and animals to tend to. She didn’t need me around. Being the good girl I was raised to be, I climbed on that bus.

It was full of laughter, fancy clothes, boys and girls with clearly already established relationships.

Where did I fit in? I sat behind the bus driver. He was clearly sorry he’d missed me the day before and felt sorry for me, the little girl with homemade clothes and a boy haircut. Side note, I had beautiful long hair like the other girls on the bus, but because I missed the bus, my mom decided to cut my hair off!  WTF Mom! Everything comes back to missing that bus!

It was a very long drive.

The school was huge! Obnoxious children ran to their cubbies with beautiful labels I guessed were their names.

The teacher was lovely. She found me at the back of the room and took my hand, which felt comforting. Only Penny had held my hand before. I forget her name, but I will never forget her kindness and warmth my whole Kindergarten year. Thank god, because the kids were a-holes.

We found my cubby with a beautiful name plate which I guessed said Sherry. I could not read until Grade 3, but that’s a story for another time.

Then I got the tour.

OMG it was mind blowing!

Ms. Soft Hands told me, “I’ll show you the washroom.”

What did she mean, the outhouse?

No, it was a bathroom with running water, a flushing toilet. I would’ve thought I’d gone to heaven must have gone to heaven, except my dad was an atheist.

The old farmhouse we had no running water or indoor plumbing or electricity. In 1967, my parents had bought the place, a shell of a farmhouse that had never been quipped or updated, for a mere $15,000. And once they’d bought it, had no more money to update it.

We cooked on a woodstove, pumped our water, ate by candlelight and bathed in a big steel tub in the middle of our kitchen. Who knew there was a whole modern world out there? Not me, because no one told me!

My teacher was shocked that she had to show me how to flush the toilet, put my foot on the step of the water fountain for the water to run, and how to turn on a water faucet.

Needless to say, I had to go to the washroom a lot!

Kindergarten days came and went. I loved the ride on the bus in my own seat behind the bus driver away from the hooligans. I brought Penny to school sometimes. She liked the running water as well.

Each day, one child had to bring a snack that their mother made for the whole class. I never ate another child’s snack. In my vivid imagination, I convinced myself that everyone was trying to poison me. Ms. Soft Hands sat me in her lap (you could do that then) and tried to convince me otherwise.

There was no convincing me, and Penny agreed. “Don’t trust those greedy children,” she said.

Then it was my turn to bring snack. I brought my mom’s yummy brownies with nuts, fresh from the woodstove, packed neatly in a red soda cracker box. The teacher distributed them and the children’s little paws could not get enough. That was the first time anyone talked to me and said, Sherry these are yummy.

Plus, I could eat this snack. My mom was not going to poison me. Who would feed the chickens?

That’s what happens when you miss the bus,


Sherry “Cherry” Miller is a small-town girl at heart that was born in Northern Ontario and grew up on a hobby farm twenty minutes from Peterborough, Ontario. To this day she still loves all animals and lives in Burlington with her five cats. She is an entrepreneur and loves to write, cook, and walk by the lake. Cherry has three grown children who she is very proud of. 

To read more short stories, poems, short memoirs and essays, see here, (and scroll down).

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