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Random Childhood Memory: The Pee Race

October 14, 2007

I started school in 1965 and, living in the sticks like we did, rode a school bus to Saltillo (MS) school which was 1st through 12th grade. At the time, at least at Saltillo, kindergarten didn’t exist but there was a buffer for beginning students to help prepare us for school. I can’t remember how long it lasted, maybe two or three weeks, but during that time there was an introduction to riding the bus to school, going to a class, and some field trips — you know, kinda lure you in with the fun trips which, of course, stopped immediately when the for-real 1st grade classes started.

The only trip I actually remember was the train ride we did where we were dropped off in one town and rode a passenger train (this was pre-Amtrak days) to another town, where we were picked up. The only image I have of the ride was the pink snowball Mom had packed for my snack, and eating it while looking out the window watching trees go by. The pink snowball was sort of a hemispherical twinkie the size of half a softball, with pink icing and coconut sprinkles; I can’t recall having seen one since that train ride.

The bus ride everyday to and from school was a bit lengthy, though after all these years I can’t remember how long it took. In fact, other than the train ride, I don’t remember very much about the pre-school (which is, I believe, the term they used for this intro to the scholastic experience) time at all. But there is one memory, one that has stuck in my brain for, as of this writing, going on forty-two years.

I was the last kid dropped off every day on the school bus route, and we were closing in on my house. But I had a major problem — I had to pee. Bad. Really, really bad. Now, from the title, I know what you are thinking: it’s a race to see if I make it home before I pee. Nope. I failed that one some distance from home, quietly walked to the back of the bus, held on to the sides of two seats and raised myself off the floor (don’t remember why), and let it go into my pants, run down my leg, and puddle on the aisle floor of the bus. Apparently my bladder was disproportionally large for my size (I was a skinny kid, believe it or not) because a lot of liquid puddled on the bus floor some six or eight inches below my propped-up feet. Now you’d think it couldn’t get much worse than peeing in your pants, but you’d be wrong. See, I had already figured out if I could let it out and then get off the bus without discovery there be no way they could pin it on me. I’d deny everything during any whodunit investigation, no matter what they tried, and there were no witnesses to dispute my claim. But then the pee race started.

As mentioned, it was a large puddle . . . and it began to flow. Forward. Toward the driver, who I had no doubt would immediately notice a stream of liquid flowing up beside his seat. This was not in my plan at all, totally unexpected. I had figured if I pulled off the pee-on-the-bus-floor plan without being noticed from the mirror, I was home free. Now this turn of events. While I’d be able to deny everything the next day, it’d be much tougher to pull off with a huge wet stain on the front of my pants. I was a good liar even back then, but not that good.

So as we trundled and bounced on down the dirt road on which we lived, I fearfully watched the flow run farther and farther down the aisle; amazing, really, how far it was stretching out. I mean, I went to the back of the bus for a reason, yet this yellow stream was approaching the front three or four seats — and, no, I wasn’t riding the “short bus.”

Sitting here typing this I can still picture my view while propped up in the aisle of the bus, hands on the back of two seat backs and feet on the seats, watching the stream elongate farther and farther toward the front of the bus. It was a race: would the pee make it to the front and get noticed by the driver before I was dropped off or would I make it to my stop and off the bus before the stream ran the distance? It was a close call, but I did make it off the bus and, unlike my fears during that night, never heard a word about it again. I never mentioned it again, either. Till now.


MSGIRL2 said: I remember those pink snowballs really well. I loved those things!!

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