Taking the Bus No.2

More about why I like buses. In the first post about buses I explained a bit about the sense of community I feel on a bus. Buses also allowed me to escape a bit as a pre and young teenager.

By the mid ’70’s Harlan’s bus was no more. King County Metro began to serve Vashon at some point. Because of our location (within walking distance of the ferry) I am not clear about when this happened because I could walk across and catch the #18. (Eventually Metro added the 118 which rode the ferry over and served the island).

“Walking across” doesn’t mean that you are performing a miracle. It means that you walk onto, then off of a ferry boat. When I was 11 or 12 I started walking across and taking a bus to Pioneer Square, which had been recently gentrified, to go to Shorey’s Bookstore. Once a well known destination and now no longer in existence, although it put up a better fight than most. Or I might go all the way downtown to the used bookstore upstairs from the Bartell’s Drug Store at the end of the Monorail (They shortened the monorail so it ends at Westlake Center mall, and tore down the funny triangular building). In those days I spent all my allowance money on books.

We lived in an isolated location, it was hard to visit the few close friends I had, my parents didn’t get along, and our home was often unpleasant. Those bus trips to town, and the books that came home with me, were an escape from that. Having an escape is a way of maintaining hope.

Times have changed, I would never have let my son go to Pioneer Square or downtown alone at that age. I sometimes wonder about that. Seattle is much bigger and less friendly feeling now, Pioneer Square is a strange place, upscale rubs shoulders with derelict.

Did I maybe feel somehow unsafe somewhere deep inside on those solo journeys? Were my parents negligent? Or was it a change in our culture? James was 12 in 2011.

Is there something you did as a child that you wouldn’t let your own kids do?

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