Friday, March 9, 2012

The Old Bus

from Stories of Bayou Life

The one place I remember living in my young life as a fisherman’s daughter was the bus on the levee in Morgan City, Louisiana, in the 1950’s.

There were six of us living in an abandoned Greyhound bus. My parents, my step-brother, and my other two siblings. I will say it was cozy, but I don’t remember feeling crowded. Mama had a kerosene stove in the front next to where the bus driver seat was. It was fun opening the folding doors. We had mattresses piled at the back end of the bus that we laid out on the floor at night.

This was in the days before welfare as we know it. In today’s world of government control over family life, I can imagine that we would have been taken away from our parents to live in foster care with strangers. But, we had everything we needed in that little bus, included the love and care of our parents. We eventually moved into better housing, probably a houseboat or trailer, but we always stayed together. All of my siblings and I grew up to be hard working citizens, which is proof that living in poverty does not have to make you dependent on the government. Would being on government support have made us lazy and not motivated to do better? One can only speculate.


Jan Urban said...

Wonderful that you had such loving parents and have fond memories of such trying times. I'm sure they were doing the best they could, and it's great that you appreciate them and what they did for you. They must be proud of the children they raised!

Rita Monette, Writer said...

Thanks. Both my parents are gone now. And I don't think they even thought of them as trying times. It was just the way it the good old days. Don't remember anyone complaining.

KSJones said...

Yours was an incredible childhood! Wow! Thanks for sharing.

Rita Monette, Writer said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Karen and for your comment. I might have mis-spoke about there not being welfare at that time. There might have been something called commodities where you could get the food basics, but my dad never signed us up. And he always managed to put food on the table. And yes, I enjoy sharing my childhood with the children of today, especially ones that think they are deprived if they don't have the latest video game or a cell phone. Yeah, my grandchildren say..."I would die if I had to live like that." But those were the happiest times of my life.