Jim Lehrer is a very talented and successful writer. If someday I write an autobiography I would be beyond pleased if it were even half as well written as Jim Lehrer’s autobiography “A Bus of My Own.” Throughout the book he shares many stories that had an effect on his life. The one story that really stuck with me is when he purchases a bus of his own. I have written it here as I remember it.
Ever since Lehrer was a child he was a bus man. As he aged he began to collect bus signs, after his tragic heart attack he began to finish his collection. Then what he calls “The voice of buses past” spoke to him and convinced him he should purchase a real bus. One he could play with and take out on little drives. His wife Kate thought the idea of a real bus was crazy. She said she knew the day would come when Lehrer would want a real bus, she was just thankful it took this long in coming.
He knew immediately what kind of bus he wanted, a flxible clipper, the bus his father had when his father had a small bus driving business. He asked some Friends if they knew where he could find one at an affordable price. He found one, a 1949 flxible clipper, great condition, great price, the problem was the man who owned it took out all of the seats and baggage racks in hopes of transforming it into a motor home. Lehrer had no interest in an empty bus. The man that had it happen to have another bus, a 1946 flxible clipper. The year 1946 was especially important to him, it was the year his father had started his bus business. A friend of his volunteered to drive him to it. As he walked onto the bus he got a good whiff of cigarette smoke and mohair, the smell brought back memories from his old bus depot days. He liked the bus, he made the deal. The man showed him how it worked and quickly taught Lehrer how to drive it.
He test drove it around the parking lot. It was then time to make the two hour drive back to west Virginia. It was a nice smooth ride, then they decided to stop to fill the bus with gas and for them to get a bite to eat. After they had eaten and filled the tank with gas, he got behind the wheel and tried to start her up, only the engine wouldn’t start. Luckily he was near a garage, he went and found a couple of men who were able to get her to start up. He got back on the road and headed home. While he was on the interstate he noticed cars flying right by him this didn’t bother him, he had his bus he was happy. He kept rolling along until he noticed a police car with its flashing lights on approach him, the police man signaled him to pull over, the police got out of his car approached the bus took a peak at the registration papers and then quietly walked back to his car and drove away. When Lehrer had gotten home he backed the old bus into his barn. His Father’s bus was called Betsy so he decided to call this one Betsy II.