Have a Marlis Day!


Posted on: April 3, 2011

 Grandma was a storyteller. How I loved to sit in the porch swing and listen to her colorful versions of the past. This is one of my favorites: It was the forties and my grandpa (we called him “Pop”) drove a school  bus. They didn’t have a car; when they needed to leave the farm, they used the bus. After working all week on the farm, Pop liked to go into town on Saturday evning and “loaf” with other farmers at “Tick’s Pool Room.”  They ate hamburgers, drank coffee, smoked, played cards, and shot pool. They compared notes about their crops, their machinery, their livestock, and the local basketball team. Of course, no women were allowed at the pool room; it was something of a men’s club.

It was before television, and I imagine Grandma got bored. The kids were raised, the chores were done, and the house was quiet. Grandma decided to organize a “girls night out.” She got on her party-line and rang up some of her friends. That next Saturday night Grandma rode along with Pop to town. He always parked in the vacant lot across the street from the pool room, where the curfew whistle and fire bell were located. It was also where the “Medicine Shows” were held.

When Pop went to meet his friends, Grandma stayed in the bus. Soon, other wives, whose husbands frequented the pool room, began to join her in the bus. Before long, the school bus was filled with the sound of happy, chattering women, anxious for a night out too. The men delivered hamburgers, candy bars, and cold bottles of orange soda to their wives, then returned to their buddies. I smile when I think of Grandma holding court with her girlfriends every Saturday night in the school bus. Women of that time always wore dresses, head scarves, and sturdy shoes. I’m sure they swapped recipes, told stories about their grandchildren, their chickens, their gardens, and their neighbors. I imagine the dark, weedy area behind the bus became their ladies’ room. Those women looked forward to their Saturday nights out too, with Grandma in the school bus.



Great story, Marlis. Both my grandmothers were avid socializers, but were as different as night and day. One played bridge and canasta and the other loved bingo! I learned so much from both of them.

I love this story and I love that her gene for socializing, creativity, and ‘thinking outside the box’ runs through our veins — and I’m happy I could pass it on to her great granddaughters ….

Loved your story! I believe I can see you doing the same thing!

What a great story Aunt Marlis- I love it! So proud of my namesake. Your blogs always make me smile.

loved this story of our infamous great grandma black and her feisty spirit! xoxo, glad the author’s conference in bowling green went so well for you– i, too, really liked clan of the cave bear but haven’t read any of the sequels… adding them to the list!

In addition to these replies, I received a host of personal emails regarding this post. I think I may have to do another blog on Grandma later. -marlis

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Hi! I'm Marlis.

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