My dad, Henry Burl Stevens Jr (1924-1997) drove a Greyhound bus for much of his working life. He loved the job. He had many stories to tell us about his work. Some of them are as follows:
He drove charters quite often. Sometimes he drove charters to the Lawrence Welk show in Southern California. When he would take charters anywhere he always got into wherever they were going for free. So he took advantage of those opportunities to experience many new things. The charters to the Lawrence Welk show were mainly full of older ladies. If you are old enough to remember the show, you’ll remember that the audience danced to the orchestra of Lawrence Welk. My father was quite a good looking man and he loved to dance. And, he was one of the few men along on the trip so he always danced with the ladies from his charter. Once, we were watching the Lawrence Welk show at home and saw our father dancing past the camera, steering an older lady around the floor. They both looked like they were having fun. LOL Our family really teased him about that.
He liked to gamble and loved to take charters to Las Vegas, Nevada. He didn’t get rich but I don’t think he lost too much on those charters. He loved to see the nightclub acts.
He drove Bracero workers up to the US from Mexico many times. The Bracero Program was a program where contract workers would be brought up to the US to work the fields for a specific period of time and then bused back home again when the crops were done. He loved Mexico and enjoyed those trips. In those days, drivers used amphetamines to ensure that they would stay awake on long drives and my father was no exception. It was just something a lot of them did and they didn’t have any idea it might be harmful to their health. Scary, right? (Some housewives of the day took them as well when they needed extra energy to do a deep housecleaning.) If you know anything about amphetamines, you know that they give you super energy and you lose your appetite. He got so run down by working long hours at high energy without sleep and not eating right that he picked up tuberculosis on his runs to Mexico and had to be in a TB sanitarium for quite awhile. I’ll write more about that another time.
He also love his runs to Flagstaff, Arizona. He loved the area so much.
He often took groups to sporting events in California. He like those because he said that they drank so much, they tipped really well. LOL
For awhile he had a regular run from Santa Maria, CA where we lived to Santa Barbara, CA. But, he never enjoyed the routine as well as he did the charter jobs. I think he liked the change from his regular routine as well as the tips.
After he retired, I could see that he regretted going when he did. He missed the driving, the meeting new people, and seeing new areas.