Judy, Judy, Judy...

by Eva Pasco
author of "Underlying Notes"

The backdrop of this true childhood incident I'm about to relate occured somewhere in-between the late fifties and 1960.  During those wonder years of innocence, my steady TV diet consisted of the black and white frenetic antics of  Buffalo Bob Smith and his marionettes: freckle-faced Howdy Doody, whimsical Flub-a-Dub,  ear-wiggling Dilly Dally, bushy-browed Mayor Phineas T. Bluster, and the pantomiming Clarabell.  Then it was off to the Treasure House with Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans, Mr. Moose, and Bunny Rabbit. Double-entendred, pie-in-the-face, one man band Soupy Sales was another prized entertainer. 
It should also be duly noted for the upcoming story: the price of a first class postage stamp in 1960 was 4 cents; school bus drivers did not run the gauntlet of background checks prior to getting hired; no one made a big deal out of things  where it concerned children--perhaps they should have; people in the boonies opened their door after dark when they heard a knock...and, most importantly, Judy deserved a citation for using her head...
Every Monday after school a segment of us kids in grades 1 through 6 attended religious instructions classes held at another school in town.  Then we boarded the bus for drop offs along the sparsely-settled, dimly-lit, country bumpkin roads in the village of Limerock.  Not having a care in the world we sang Christmas carols, laughing all the way.  That is, until the bus coughed, sputtered, and expired on Wilbur Road--the same road with the dilapidated haunted house we loved to conjure stories about during sunlit hours, of course. 
Then, you could hear a pin drop.  Without ceremony, our grizzly old bus driver gruffly announced, "Everybody off the bus!" 
That's right, we cherubs were left to fend for ourselves in the dark and cold, a few miles from where we lived.  Before I had a chance to panic, Judy, one of the sixth graders who lived on my street, took charge.  She flaunted her authority by ordering the older kids to take us younger ones by the hand and stick together by groups.  I was part of Judy's group as she led the troops to a house with lighted windows.  A kind elderly woman who reminded me of Mrs. Claus with her white hair coiled in a bun, invited us inside.  In the midst of  filling out Christmas cards, piles of addressed envelopes were stacked on the kitchen table. Judy used the phone and called her dad to come pick us up...
In the aftermath of the event, a newspaper article the size of a postage stamp summarized the incident and the bus driver was let go.  I remember telling my class all about this adventure during "Show and Tell."  Other than by grateful word of mouth, Judy was never ceremoniously recognized for her levelheadedness.  However, when I'm pressed to think of herooes and heroines who have made an impact in my life, it is without a doubt, Judy, Judy, Judy.
Judy went on to become a school teacher in Lincoln just as I did, the same town in which the incident occured. We had a chance to attend the same seminar not long before both of us retired.  During lunch, I made sure everyone at the table knew of Judy's uncommon valor--the stuff that leaders are made of.  In gratitude, I'm going to mail Judy a copy of this article.
Eva Pasco's "Underlying Notes" may be purchased here:
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