An Open Letter to Our 1970 International School Bus


Dear Bus,

It pains us to realize that we never actually named you. It’s probably for the best, however – since our time together is now drawing to a close, let’s not clutter our goodbyes with saccharine sentimentality. We’re better than that.


These past two years have been… intense. You’ve been, on the whole, a good bus. You’ve kept us mostly dry in the rain and if not warm in the winter, then at least out of the wind; if not cool in the Summer, then, well, let’s just not talk about Summer.

You’ve housed our family’s laughter and tears, bickering and hugs. You’ve stood solid and welcomed our fourth child as well as an occasional bird or mouse into our home.


Our youngest children don’t have any memories without a steering wheel and gear shift within easy access. They don’t remember ever living with doorknobs or an upper story taller than three and a half feet. They’ll have to get used to walking up stairs in the new house, rather than climbing a ladder, but they won’t have to remember to close the hatch behind them.


You’ve given us a story to tell throughout the years, Bus, but more than that, you’ve given the gift of teaching us about ourselves. Our limits have been tested and stretched to the max, but we have learned that we can do more and endure longer than we thought we could. We’ve learned that we don’t need air conditioning, central heat, a dryer, a dishwasher, a working refrigerator, privacy, a real toilet that doesn’t need to have its tank drained and carted off once a week, room to stretch out or lots of storage space… but that we REALLY, REALLY want them.


We have learned more about what the term “simple living” means to our family and that it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the amount of stuff that we own or the size of the space that we live in. We have learned that home isn’t a bus, or even a house – it’s wherever we’re all together.


We’ll miss the gentle rocking of your suspension whenever we move around too vigorously. We’ll miss the closeness and security of having our entire family within a few feet of each other at any given time. We’ll miss the novelty of being able to tell people about our situation and see their reactions. I’m sure, one day, a long, long time from now, we might even miss the weird charm of actually living here.


But the time has come. The goal that we have strived for these past few years has been reached: we have a beautiful, spacious house to move into. It is everything we could have possibly wanted and then some. Our hearts are overflowing.

We never could have accomplished this so soon without you and I doubt that we would appreciate it even a fraction as much.

Thank you for not tipping over or rolling away or spontaneously combusting. Thank you for sheltering our family for these two long years (almost to the DAY). Sorry that we whined so (SO) much.

Thank you, and goodbye.


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21 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Our 1970 International School Bus

  1. I can only imagine how excited you are! Please, please share pictures of you moving into the house and more pictures once you’re settled in. I’m very excited for you all 🙂

  2. JESUS CHRIST!! I’m wiping away tears. Seriously. Totally emotional. It’s strange. In some ways that bus occupied an important little place in my mind, knowing that you guys were out there. I don’t know if it’s because me and Spenc and mom & pop lived in a motor home before you were born Sarah and I have such strong memories of it as a kid. Or maybe it’s because whenever I come and visit it’s a “people are visiting” time and I don’t see the day to day difficulties, and can therefore romanticize it a little bit. But I think really you guys have been a tiny bit of a North Star for me, and I imagine a few others. And I don’t mean that I’m aiming toward living in a bus…I do NOT mean that…no no no…sorry if it sounded that way… I mean that no matter how hard things have been in my life at any particular time, somewhere in my mind I’ve been able to be like “ok, stop yer blubberin’. Sarah and Noah are living in a bus WITH FOUR KIDS and despite the odds they fight through like freakin’ Samurai. Granted. You guys always knew it was temporary, but most difficulties end up being temporary I n one way or another. Even if they are permanent. I guess I mean the way they’re experienced can change. (I guess I started think there: “what if you’re missing an eye. That’s not really gonna change” …But the perspective will change. Right? You’re not gonna wake up each morning and think “DAMN! I can’t see to the left!!” Sometimes you’re gonna wake up and be like “who cares about what’s happening to the left. What’s happening to the right is RAD!”

    I’ve gotten off topic…

    I just wanna say, I’ve truly loved reading your writing and hearing your experiences. I’ve delighted in your your serious talent as a writer, and storyteller, and how you’ve brought us all along with you on this little journey. And I really hope you don’t stop. I wanna hear about how the family from Little Bus on the Prairie learns how to live in a house. I wanna hear how you all walk around unconsciously ten feet from each other at all times, how Emmaline keeps trying to climb up ladders that aren’t there, and how Finn keeps endlessly looking for the steering wheel to the house because he’s sure it has to be somewhere. “STOP HIDING IT MOMMY!! I KNOW IT’S HERE SOMEWHERE!!! HOW ELSE ARE WE GOING TO STEER THE HOUSE??!!!!”

    I’ll miss you too Bus. I miss you already.

    Congratulations Springfields!! You deserve it!!

  3. Congratulations, Sarah! You did it. You made it. Thanks for taking all of us along the way. Here is my favorite quote:
    Let your boat of life be light,
    Filled with only what you need.
    Someone to love, someone to love you.
    Enough to eat.
    And more than enough to drink for thirst is a terrible thing.

    You and your family embody that for so many of us.

  4. Congratulations Springfields. Wow it seems like that was really fast. I love your blog and hearing about the adventure.
    What are you guys going to do with the bus?

  5. We’ll have to keep our eyes on the internet for a new blog written y someone living in a bus…your old bus!

  6. Amen!! Loved the “BUS” good bye… Brought a tear or two, or maybe three… Then I had to read “biggest brother comments” started all over again!!
    What an accomplishment , not too many families could survive … You guys did it with grace! I’d love to see those little faces , the first night they sleep in their new rooms. I know you all will sleep better, I know I will!! Love Grama Claudia

  7. I see an important cross road of life. This will be a fond memory, it will be, probably be one the most memorable events of your life.

    To the point……. “THE HAPPY BUS”…… IT’S FUTURE

    There might be big issues here, this fine specimen of a bus made that miraculous 8 hr drive from Julian, which is normally only a 1 hour drive.

    Just think, any other vehicle in the same condition, overheating and having to pull over every other off ramp, probably wouldn’t have made it even 1/2 that far as hot as it got.

    This ……Spartan…… Class Bus, not only beat all odds of throwing a rod, but then gracefully handled the 5 and then 6, jumpers, climbers, crawlers, walkers, runners, lightening, wind and rain…….

    You can’t for one second, tell me that some true cave dwellers wouldn’t give all that they have to aquire such a Gem.
    1. A real fort on wheels with a shifter and steering wheel for playing totts having visions of travel and discovery.
    2. A convenient place to relive the pass, a place to revisit when times seem harder than they really could be.
    3. Opening a “ONE NIGHT DOUBLE DECKER BUS SUITE”. I’ll bet that you would have non stop booking. How many people in the world do you think have been fortunate enough to have had such an experience?

    You are Great! You made it a Very Special Stay and did very good…… all is as it should be, look at the kids play, they have so many friends…… what a Great Experience!

    You two are Great Parents and these kids are living and have lived one of the best experiences that they could have ever hoped for. Being that close is healthy for a family and it wouldn’t have been the same without the circumstances that you have been through.

    All of the rest of it is the average, everyday norm. You had a lot to look forward to, you had a lot to be thankful for and that will make the present and future even better than it would have been. Just don’t leave the thought of it all behind, it all goes pretty fast and too much of it becomes a blend.

    If you had expressed just one ounce of deserved appreciation you might have considered a drive through living room where you could park the bus instead of just abondoning it to a silent existence interrupted only by the dwindling sound of the pitter patter of tiny feet wandering through the dark, now having to scrounge for spiders and such instead of the once crowded palace kitchen that used to be known as a place for the easy meal.

    I’m so happy for you having the where for all to brave and rise through the things that have presented themselves in your life…….. what a Daughter! What a Son in Law! What a close and well adjusted family!

    Have a Great Evening

    Love Pops

  8. Congratulations Sarah & Noah!

    What a huge accomplishment. I’ve enjoyed reading about all your adventures and wish you much joy on your adventures ahead.

  9. Perseverance, commitment,amazing life experience. Congratulations! I am extremely happy for you?

  10. I am so happy for you and your new home but I hope and pray that you continue to share your journey (even without the bus). I love hearing your stories about your faith, family, and friends (The honesty in both the ups and downs). I actually find myself checking to see what you have shared recently and to be honest it is the OnLy blog besides my own that I type in by name and search for when I have free time.) Thank you for sharing your journey so far and PLEASE don’t forget us as you move in.

  11. This a unique and , heartfelt and precious memoir of 6 adorable people The bus must feel very honored but sad and empty and hoping for visits.
    Love to All from one of your oldest fans, Gr Landen

  12. Congratulations! That was sweet and funny. What a great way to close out your time on the bus! I hope you’re going to keep writing about your family’s adventures here. Or on a new blog? Or maybe this one just gets a new name???? So many possibilities!

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