Barbara Ann and the Bus

By Helen Kronberg

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    Barbara Ann rode her tricycle up and down the sidewalk. When she saw the bus, she pedaled hard to beat it to the corner. The bus driver waved.

    Barbara Ann thought it must be fun to ride a bus with all its interesting people.

    One day a pretty lady got off the bus. Her arms were full of packages. One package dropped. Barbara Ann quickly picked it up.

    “Thank you,” the lady said. “Can you put it on top of my other packages?” She stooped so Barbara Ann could reach. Barbara Ann and the lady smiled at each other.

    One day a mother and baby got off the bus. The baby whimpered. “There, there,” the mother said. “We’ll soon have lunch and a good nap. Then you’ll feel better.”

    Sometimes an old man with a cane got off the bus. Once a little boy ran to meet him. “Hi, Gramps!” he called. The man smiled and held out his arms.

    Every day a nurse in a white uniform waited on the corner. I’d like to be a nurse when I grow up, Barbara Ann thought, or maybe a doctor.

    One day Mother said, “How would you like to ride the bus downtown with me?”

    “Oh boy!” cried Barbara Ann.

    Barbara Ann and her mother waited at the bus stop. Barbara Ann hopped first on one foot and then on the other, she was so excited.

    “Well, hello, young lady,” the bus driver said. “How are you today?”

    “I’m fine, thank you,” said Barbara Ann politely.

    Mother put some money in the fare box.

    Barbara Ann looked around. There was a man reading a paper. A lady was knitting something with pretty blue yarn. Another lady kept falling asleep. Her head would nod and then suddenly snap back. She opened her eyes wide as if she were trying to stretch them so they wouldn’t keep closing.

    A boy carrying a guitar got on the bus and the door went WHOOSH!

    Two ladies, their arms full of books, got off by the library. The bus door WHOOSHED them good-bye.

    Barbara Ann smiled at everyone. Some of the passengers smiled back. But some of them just sank into a seat without glancing at anyone else. Barbara Ann liked the smiling people best. But maybe the others are tired or have a headache, she decided. Sometimes Mother doesn’t smile when she has a headache. She looked up at her mother. Mother smiled.

    The knitting lady stood up and pulled the cord and the bus stopped at the corner. She hurried off the bus. The door went WHOOSH!

    Soon lots of people were getting off. And every time the door went WHOOSH!

    Mother took Barbara Ann’s hand and pulled the cord. “This is where we get off,” she said.

    Mother bought thread and a zipper in one store. In another store she bought some stationery and a pretty pink candle. Then they went to Daddy’s office.

    “Hello, Barbara Ann,” said Miss Harris, Daddy’s secretary. “I haven’t seen you for a long time.”

    “We rode the bus,” said Barbara Ann.

    “You did! Did you like the bus ride?”

    Barbara Ann nodded. “Did you know the doors go WHOOSH?”

    Miss Harris smiled. “I can’t say I’ve ever noticed. But now that you mention it, you’re right. They do go WHOOSH!”

    Daddy came out of his office.

    “We rode the bus,” Barbara Ann told Daddy.

    “And how did you like it?”

    “It was fun,” Barbara Ann replied. “Did you know bus doors go WHOOSH?”

    Daddy laughed. “I’ve never really paid any attention to their sound. But I do believe you’re right.”

    “We rode the bus today,” Barbara Ann told her brother Bart and her sister Laura that evening. “Did you know bus doors go WHOOSH?”

    Bart poked her in the ribs and made her giggle. “WHOOSH!” he said. “WHOOSH! WHOOSH! WHOOSH!”

    “There’s so much noise on the school bus that I never noticed,” said Laura.

    Barbara Ann smiled. She had learned something no one else seemed to know about. She knew busses were fun. And she knew their doors didn’t bang—they WHOOSHED!

    Illustrated by Gary Hoover