by Lisa Tome
Ellie Newsome found a way to recycle all those notes that bus drivers receive regarding children riding a different bus or going to an alternate bus stop.
She wrote a book on them.
Newsome, of Conowingo, who has spent the last two decades driving children to and from local schools, has compiled things she overheard and that were said to her by her passengers into a book. The book "School Bus Chatter: The Things We Hear From Point A to Point B”, was years in the making.
"After (driving a bus) for five years, I started jotting down the funny conversations and comments. I compiled a book the kids wrote," said Newsome.
The 43 page book, which is comprised of quips and short takes, came from students who attended Rising Sun and Conowingo elementary schools and Rising Sun High. They are grouped by age of the child when they said it. The children are not identified. "I know what kid said it and what grade they were in," she said.
Her favorite quote came from a child who has grown up and is now serving in the military. "He said 'be careful is another way of saying I love you'," said Newsome.
Newsome began driving a bus in 1994, starting as a substitute with contractor Dan Wagner. She settled in to driving bus 20, the same route that her father drove. "I love it. I love my job. I hope when I don't love it, I don't have to do it," she said.
She spent 15 years gathering the information.
"I always said I wanted to write a book," she said.
In November 2014, she contacted the publisher, Author House. In December, she had a heart attack and open heart surgery.
Despite the setback, she moved forward.
"It's so much thinking. I had to organize it," she said.
The book is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. Locally, it can be purchased at Sun Pharmacy. That business has already sold out of the book once and has since restocked. She also had a book signing at Martin's Cafe.
Her husband, Joe, supported the project. As did her church family at Porter's Grove Baptist Church where she is an active member.
The books will be sold and signed on March 5 at Martin's Cafe from 8 a.m until noon. The book costs $12.
"It embarrasses me that I've done it. But I wanted it out there," said Newsome.
You can find her on facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She has already started the second volume of the book. "The kids are still saying funny stuff but I don't think I have 15 more years (of driving a bus) in me," she said.
One of her former bus riders is also the book's illustrator. Taylor Wyatt rode Newsome's bus as a Pre-kindergarten student and then again as a high school senior. "She's a really good artist. She did the cover drawings and throughout the book," said Newsome.
She also said she was careful not to include hurtful things that children say.