Ode to the Jalopy

I just couldn’t resist taking a trip down ‘Memory lane’ and posting this entry I wrote years ago so that I would never forget one of the most eventful years in my high school life. Hopefully no one comes and beats me up about this but hey, it’s a memory recall!

The jalopy ‘business’ started with a sorry excuse for a coaster bus. It later bore the ‘Jalopy Junior’, a green and white mini with the craziest driver in the universe, known to us as twiggy*.

After a few months of horrific experiences with cocaine*(I swear those guys were on that drug), I had enough of their weed – smoking, reckless driving, dangerous stunts, disrespect to human life…etc. and finally convinced my parents to put me on another bus. [Won’t forget the time when someone set another student’s hair on fire with a lighter and we sat there too shocked to say anything for a while]

Yea, so Marcus* was the driver of the coaster at that time. Just remembering him takes me back to the days when he’d cuss and cuss and cuss some more after the bus either broke down or ran out of gas. Many a morning he’d have to push start the ol’ bus out of his yard…believe me, that was a task…then we’d be driving down the hill to St. Ann’s bay when a loud but familiar ‘beeeeeeep’ would be heard. “No gas” I’d say as the bus coasted down to the nearest gas station. It truly lived up to its name – coaster. I do remember clearly, the time it had shut off near Minyard. We thought it’d be a grand idea to walk the rest of the way to school but ended up hitchhiking after we reached the second corner!

The next year I wasn’t the only one from lime hall, now there were about 6 of us so “twiggy” started taking us to school in ‘Junior’. Don’t remember much about the first couple of weeks but we were certain that we had a competent driver. As time progressed, we realized that was not the case! I can laugh at what I’m going to tell you now but back then I was the least amused.

Well, here goes: we were driving to school. He was speeding and driving like a lunatic. Suddenly the bus shut off. We didn’t know what would happen next. Instincts told us that the bus would blow up so we did what any sane person would do…jumped out. He finally got it started up. All I remember is that looked up and there was Tyrone*…half of him was inside the bus the other half was dangling outside. Twiggy was too busy speeding around the corner to notice and the rest of us were left dumbstruck. After we realized that he’d left us in the middle of nowhere we started cussin’ like hell then bummed rides with the other private buses that were behind us. A few chains up the road there he was. The bus had shut off again – serves him damn right. We waved as we passed him!

Another time the bus overheated thanks to the fact that he was speeding again. Naturally we all jumped out (don’t worry; he had sense enough not to leave us this time). In the end the bus started but not before it shot out a shower of hot water when Twiggy opened the water thingy…oh right, the radiator.

Aaahh the memories, brings me back to that fateful morning when two tires got punctured by some mysterious forces of nature somewhere en route to St. Ann’s Bay. Another afternoon a tire punctured just when the rain started to fall. Gggrr…so much for spending an hour in the furnace also called the hair dryer.

You’d think I had learned not to sleep in that death trap after that last experience. Nope. No siree. This one was one helluvah wakeup call though. We were late – as usual – he was speeding, again as usual! I was jolted out of my sleep by a loud ‘bang’ and felt the bus shake violently. However we were still moving and even faster than before. I looked at everyone, they all looked dazed. When I looked down at my bag that was in front of me, it was covered with glass. I just shook it off totally oblivious to what I was really doing. When we reached the school, it was hard not to notice that the entire right side of the bus was crushed in and the front and backlights were hanging out of the bus. Way to go Twiggy. ‘Hit and run’ awardee of the year. The funny part was that when we got to school suddenly everyone was traumatized – all in an attempt to cut classes. ‘Bway i tell ya’.

Can’t forget another time when the bus started to overheat. Ha ha Keisha* made a mad dash for the great outside…via the bus window within a matter of seconds. Trust me, despite the seriousness of the situation I laughed so hard that morning.

Gone are the days when the engine would suddenly start to smoke up the bus and we’d run out and cover our faces, more so out of embarrassment when that happened in the school yard in front of everyone. Gone too are the days when the Jalopy would have to be given a ‘push start’ to get off the school campus and god help us if it stopped in the middle of the road!

I would tell you 1001 more stories but I can’t:

      (1) cause i have forgotten some of them

      (2) cause others just can’t be put in writing

      (3) cause ya’ll should’ve been there!!! :p

Long live the Jalopy, may the future passengers be blessed with happy memories and near death experiences to pass on to future generations.

P.S. I didn’t fabricate…sure they sound out of this world but it’s all true!!!

The Jalopy Anthem (sung to the tune oh come all ye faithful)

O’ come ol’ Jalopy strolling down the street now smoking and shutting down at St. *****’* tires rolling off back to Ocho Rios the engines will be next you know (repeat x 3) ‘cause that’s all that’s left

(composed by ‘batman’ & company)

*Names changed – ’cause I felt like inventing names



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