Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Walk this way

Kindergarten at Hill View Elementary School in Murray, UT, is half-day. At least it was in 1989. I was in an afternoon class. Mom took me to school everyday (which, I'm sure, was no small feat, since she'd have to pack up me, my 3 and 1 year old siblings, and at least one or two other children she babysat to drive me that one mile), but most days I walked home with some neighbor girls. I think one was even a fifth grader, and the bee's knees.

Then we moved to Texas and we rode in a carpool for 1st-3rd and 5th grades. 4th grade I rode the bus (which was a novelty at first, but soon wore off). I rode the bus for 6th-8th grades as well, but when we moved from our apartment to a real house closer to our elementary school halfway through 6th grade, my 2nd and 4th grade siblings got to walk to school.

I don't remember why, but I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Well, it was probably because I was on a stinky bus everyday. (Even worse, for at least four cumulative weeks in 8th grade, I rode the short bus. I still need to tell that story, don't I?) My siblings were able to walk on their schedule and enjoy the outside air, and their commute didn't take nearly as long as mine. I was rather jealous.

Once I started 9th grade, everything changed. We'd moved to our house in Utah and you could see junior high from our doorstep. I finally got to walk to school! All by myself if I wanted! And walk I did. Sometimes by my onesies, sometimes with my brother, sometimes with neighbors, and eventually with my not-my-boyfriend. Is there anything more not-romantic than walking hand in hand with your not-your-boyfriend the two and a half blocks to the junior high? I didn't think so.

My favorites were the snowy days. I'd get up with my brother and get all bundled up, ready to shovel the driveway. By the time I'd shoveled the first line, I'd spy my not-my-boyfriend coming up the walk, ready to take over. Three people and two shovels = I got to go back inside where it was warm, get ready for school, and help Mom finish making breakfast for the lot of us. It was pretty great.

Unfortunately, walking to school lost its charm by 10th grade. The high school was farther away. If I didn't leave on time to meet my friends, I had to walk it alone. There was no magic in the snowy days anymore, as I was no longer not-seeing my not-my-boyfriend, so I'd have to help shovel after all and then trudge through the snow to school.

I was much relieved that I had a driver's license and my own truck by the time my junior year started. By this time, it was my truck that was the novelty and the means to my freedom. Those are the ingredients to me enjoying my walk to school. It was new and exciting in 9th grade, but not as much by 10th. Walking from Deseret Towers to my morning classes my freshman year of college was both a novelty and more freedom than I'd ever had, minus the scary Bell Tower Stairs of Death, and I don't ever recall minding the walk. The same goes for my walk from my flat in London to the Hyde Park LDS chapel, where our classes were held. I was so excited every day that I was in London that I didn't care I was walking all the time (and when I came home a pants size smaller, I was still excited - anyone want to move back to London with me?).

It would only take about 40 minutes to walk to work now. It would be good for me. But it's a lot easier to sleep for 30 extra minutes and drive for six. Perhaps on good weather days, I'll channel my inner 9th grader and remember just how freeing it is to do things by my own steam.


Nancy said...

Ah, that lovely powder blue truck with the fuzzy pink dice...am I remembering correctly? :)

AmandaStretch said...

They weren't fuzzy, but they were pink! I loved that truck.

Emily said...

a- i had no idea how jealous you were of our walking... note that my walking started in early elementary school and therefore lacked novelty for many years.

b- i'm still walking... everywhere.

c- i'd happily move to london w/ you!!!