... and fun at the Fair
Adventure! That's what I think I'm going to have today. I'm taking a foreign bus to a place I've only driven a car to before today. I know exactly where my destination is but I do not know the name of the business or store. They sell party favors galore and I'm in the market to dress up some donated candles so that they'll be hot sellers on my "GIFTS" table at the upcoming Fair.
I'll get the Square One, Saugus, bus at 12:45 from Malden Station and notice all the changes to the once-familiar buildings on Salem Street. I'll think of Betty Hall Hayes as we take a left onto Broadway and I spot the former Browne Junior High down to the right.
We'll pass Bowman Street on the left - the first address I remember learning. Then the hills, now well-populated, where my mother could name the neighborhood bootleggers. The stylish area was now filled with upper-crust houses and the towering castles of Granada Highlands.
Next, on the right, we'll come to the overnight-or-less motels and recreation businesses galore. I'll pass the Jewish Cemetery at the town line - the new automobile salesrooms on the left - and then I must be alert for the distant church steeple in a sort of valley on the right and the paved neighborhood path, then voila!...my destination.
After lunch in my favorite restaurant on the corner of Washington Street hill and Exchange Street, Malden, I walked to the station and waited ten minutes for the bus. I handed the driver my transfer and started to ask him about stopping on the road between Salem Street, Malden and Route One. He told me to get out of the way of the other boarding passengers. I obeyed.
When all in the line had boarded the bus, I asked him if I could get directions now. His shave needed tending to...or perhaps he had worked all night. He was not a happy-camper. He told me that the bus did not stop on that street. The first stop was Square One Mall! Since my eyes are so faulty, I assumed I read the bus sign wrong, excused myself and dismounted the bus. He didn't offer to return my transfer. I didn't ask for it.
The next bus wouldn't arrive for another hour. I gave up on my mission. As I walked toward Malden Square and the bus back home to Melrose, I realized he had given me blatantly wrong information. In the past when I had been on that same bus, it had stopped to pick up and discharge passengers on Broadway. Why was he so determined to wreck a passenger's day? I had had plenty of traffic with loads of courteous, helpful, capable, well-balanced bus drivers. This one was a rarity. But...I didn't take his number nor the route number of the bus. I only know that it was the Saugus bus, leaving Malden at 12:45 on a Friday. Maybe he is soon-to-retire and just filling in on a new line. Maybe he hates passengers. Maybe party favor candles would not be good sellers. Maybe I should invest in more popular merchandise that would not require a bus ride to purchase.
Postscript: There was an excess of donated merchandise and our little Fair table made over $300..without the bus driver's help.
Illustration by Don Norris