How Did You Get To School ?

train
@MALUSE (46080)
Uzbekistan
November 5, 2015 11:03am CST
My experience with trains goes back a long way. My secondary grammar school was a fifteen minute train ride away from the town where I lived then. I travelled back and forth for nine years. The train wasn’t just a means of transportation. It was part of my life. My classmates who got on one station before me were always in the second carriage, last compartment. They used to prepare our homework, i.e., they found out where the problems were. When I had got on, we would tackle them together. I remember one day when we had a Latin test in the first lesson and there was no light in the whole train. It was winter and pitch dark. We were all panicky. When the conductor came with a torch round his neck to control the tickets, we begged him to stay with us and shine his light on the pages of our books, which he did! The man be praised forever. I used to write so well with my schoolbag on my knees that no teacher could ever find out that my homework had been done only minutes before reaching school. You can do a lot in 15 minutes if you’re well organized: The morning rides were always quiet, everyone scribbling away, composing, copying, reading or memorizing. I mostly copied maths and swapped my German homework for it. The rides back were a bit livelier. The girls were chatting and giggling, the boys using the carriages as gyms swinging from the luggage racks or doing other workout exercises on the wooden (!) benches to release the strain after a hard day at school. We didn’t come late to school only because we occasionally missed the train, but also because cows loved to wander between the rails every now and then. No hooting made them leave the track. We had to follow them up to the next station where they were shooed away by the railway people. Once I strolled with some friends through the goods station, and two friendly men on a steam (!) locomotive invited us to have a short ride with them. I was about 12 years old then and so deeply impressed that I wrote an article about the adventure, sent it to a kids’ mag and got a book for it as a prize. Looking back I see this as the seed from which a lifetime later my career as a writer on opinionating sites developed.
22 people like this
28 responses
@LadyDuck (189328)
• Switzerland
6 Nov 15
My school was 20 minuted tramway ride from the apartment of my parents. The problem with tramways in Italy is that you never know how much time you are going to wait for them, so I used to go out at least 40 minutes before the school starting hour. It was not funny in winter with the fog and the snow.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (40260)
• United States
6 Nov 15
I can't imagine letting children ride the train without parents, way to scary for me. I walked at first and then took the school bus. If I missed the bus my mother drove me to school. My children were picked up by the school bus right in front of our house.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (46080)
• Uzbekistan
6 Nov 15
We were ten years old when we started commuting. We were never alone on the train as I've described. Hardly anyone had a private car then (in 1955). School buses didn't exist, either.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (40260)
• United States
6 Nov 15
@MALUSE I think it is a cultural thing, we would never let 10 year olds ride a train without a parent. I was 5 in 1955 and we didn't get a school bus until 1957 so I walked with my brother and then in bad weather we were driven to school. We also have neighborhood schools. My school was less than a mile away and there were two other schools only slightly over a mile.
1 person likes this
@PhredWreck (6051)
5 Nov 15
Our town never had any 'local' trains, just passenger trains for larger towns. My grandfather was a telegrapher for the Illinois Central railroad, which of course, as a kid, I thought that had to be one of the coolest jobs there were. He also worked as a projectionist at the local movie house...I worshiped at his feet.
1 person likes this
5 Nov 15
Oh, and I walked to school...as the saying goes "Through the snow...uphill...both ways!
@Auntylou (4316)
• Oxford, England
6 Nov 15
I too used to go to grammar school by train ,but there were only two of us from the same year so no homework fests! Years later there were two terrible train crashes at the railway stations next to ours.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10036)
• Malaysia
6 Nov 15
Wow that must be an unforgettable experience. My school wasn't very close and my dad used to take me to school by car until I went to boarding school.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (142294)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Nov 15
I was always envious of my brother and sister who rode or drove a horse to school. I went my school-bus and couldn't do much homework on the way as I'd get motion sickness. But I'd manage to learn my French or German vocabulary.
1 person likes this
@lkn1124 (25)
• China
6 Nov 15
I go to school was by bike.now I get to work by car
1 person likes this
• Quezon City, Philippines
5 Nov 15
Bus is my main transportation.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
5 Nov 15
It sounds nicer than the bus journeys we had as kids.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (75265)
• Walnut Creek, California
5 Nov 15
Sounds exciting! I always walked to school.
1 person likes this
@garymarsh6 (14764)
• United Kingdom
5 Nov 15
I think you and many others lived on a wing and a prayer doing home work minutes before getting to school. What a brilliant conductor shining his torch for you!
1 person likes this
@valmnz (13329)
• New Zealand
5 Nov 15
I loved that you were really and truly into time management by utislising your time on the train to do your homework. I'm sure your teachers didn't care when it was done, as long as it was done! maybe they even marked it on their train trip home. I had a less than ten minute bike ride to school in the 60s.
1 person likes this
• Greece
5 Nov 15
You were organised, I am impressed. I went to work by train, a commuter train and it was no fun at all. It was very competitive however, just managing to squeeze in was a feat in itself. I cycled to school, that gave me a love of cycling that served me well until I learned to drive and got a car.
1 person likes this
@suziecat7 (3389)
• Asheville, North Carolina
5 Nov 15
We always walked to school sometimes in the snow. I love your memories here. It must have been great.
1 person likes this
@marlina (80847)
• Canada
5 Nov 15
Interesting little anecdote from your schooling years. I walked down the street to my school. Later on, I took the bus to go for my studies (Toronto study)
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Nov 15
Sounds like a daily adventure. We walked to school until grade 8 and then took a bus.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (105555)
• United States
5 Nov 15
I walked, got a ride with my dad or rode a bus. I liked to go early, go in the library and do my homework then, I have never gotten to ride a train.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Nov 15
I had to take 2 buses to get to school and would do most of my homework on the ride
@MALUSE (46080)
• Uzbekistan
6 Nov 15
Writing on a bus is more difficult than writing on a train. --- Did you have classmates with whom you could share your homework?
@marguicha (106517)
• Chile
6 Nov 15
I used to go in trams. My school was over half an hour aways from my home and I had to be there before 8 AM
@MALUSE (46080)
• Uzbekistan
6 Nov 15
I don't think you can write well in a tram. Too much movement.
@T964045 (49)
• Canlubang, Philippines
11 Nov 15
when i was in college i used to ride the bus to school. it's not a school bus of course. weird thing is around 1992 til i graduated in 1996 airconditioned buses were considered a luxury so imagine riding the bus for 45 minutes with my white blouse for a school uniform! that went on for four years.