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Re: Bring back our Wooden buses : with their authentic names!

Mangodog,

You might be on to something. My own father worked at the Lago oil refinery in the 1940s and 1950s. I remember seeing that bus as a kid and thinking that Aruba could not be that far away if buses in Grenada had it's name. I know at least a half-dozen families in Gouyave with Aruba links.

Thanks for the discussion.

Dunbar Campbell

Re: Bring back our Wooden buses : with their authentic names!

A few points about the wooden bus drivers:

More than a few of the wooden bus drivers were “bad” for their money. A driver called Man Man used to leave his bus and chase people who jumped from the bus without paying. Then more people jumped off his bus. He used to threaten to break people’s “scrutch” if they did not pay. Mayfair used to stop in a lonely spot like Woodford and used the words “Come up” to ask for the fare.

There were drivers who helped poor people and allowed them to ride for free. God bless their souls, Genevieve! It was not always easy to provide the money for transportation and just like the shopkeepers used to “Trust” people until they were able to pay, the bus drivers also are worthy of our thanks and appreciation.

Drivers took people to outings like beach parties and got drunk. In those days drinking and driving did not get the attention it gets today. God protected those people who rode with bus drivers who were “under their oil.”

Many of our wooded bus drivers were exceptionally good at the wheel. I recall the many times on our way to Schaper school that Dudley, the driver of Labor Reward had to “jam” the bus on the side of the road so another bus could pass. When I looked out the well ventilated vehicle, all I saw was precipice. The drivers held the steering wheel but God guided the bus.

There were drivers who reserved the seats next to them for special people like their girl friends. You could not venture there.

Bus drivers used to “speech people off”:

Bus drivers had to know how to “time the waves.” On the western side especially, huge waves used to crash on the shore. Not all buses had good tarpaulin to cover those side openings. Actually, there were buses that leaked so much, that it was better to go outside and find shelter. When the drivers saw the huge waves approaching, they stopped the bus and when the water receded, they raced to get away from more waves.

In times when there were heated football games, bus drivers had to make speedy get-away after the games before the big stones started raining down on the bus.

Bus drivers were noted for surviving serious accidents. Take the driver called Breakie for instance. The bus turned over in the road. Everybody believed Breakie was dead. The man crawled out like a Morocoy, the land turtle. Ironically, the man was called Breakie. There were people who wanted to sit near the bus drivers because they believed they too, would escape injury if accidents occurred.

Bus drivers drove in style. They loved to “squinge up” in a corner and hold the steering wheel. The Austin Cambridge and Morris buses used to sing so it was a joy to see those drivers “chuck in the gears.” and hear the sounds. Some buses sang better than people.

They were bus drivers who had no use for radios because there were people on the bus who talked incessantly and served as radios. Actually one fellow who rode on a bus was called Radio.

Bus drivers had good eyes. It was essential to spot policemen like Church and Boraggy who were never fond of overcrowded buses or people hanging out from the buses. Conductors especially, were famous for hanging out of the wooden buses and the traffic police got annoyed.

I recall riding on the wooden bus for the first time. All the trees on the side on the road looked like they were moving.
Wendell