Ed Brown goes to Bus Driver School, 1957, Traverse City, Michigan | Traverse City Record-Eagle; Old Mission Gazette Photo
Ed Brown goes to Bus Driver School, 1957, Traverse City, Michigan | Traverse City Record-Eagle; Old Mission Gazette Photo
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In today’s edition of “Old Mission History,” I bring to you a clipping from the Traverse City Record-Eagle dated Wednesday, August 28, 1957. It’s from my mom’s archives. As with every female in our family through several generations, my mom kept everything – and for that, I’m very grateful!

Not only does Mom have a treasure trove of family history in her scrapbooks and boxes, but also a treasure trove of Old Mission Peninsula history. So as I go through all her archives, I’ll be posting some of them here on the Gazette.

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(Side Note: I chuckled quietly to myself when my brother-in-law Steve Lewis posted on his blog the other day about all the clippings, papers, napkins strewn with writing, playbills, appointment books and everything under the sun that my sister kept. Yep, it’s in our DNA, this need to document everything. I do the same thing, and so did our female ancestors dating back generations.)

Anyway, I found this newspaper clipping in Mom’s stuff. As mentioned, it’s from the Record-Eagle dated August 28, 1957. I believe at this time, they were still in the process of building the new Old Mission Peninsula School. Tim recalls starting kindergarten in the fall of 1957, in the lobby of the gym at the new school, because the kindergarten classroom wasn’t ready yet. Read more about that here.

The clipping and photo shows all of the brand new bus drivers getting ready to start the school year, having completed training on how to drive a bus (and deal with all those kids!).

The reason Mom clipped it is because Ed Brown is in the photo. Some of you probably had Ed for a bus driver (my bus driver was Bill Welhusen – he drove the Old Mission route). All the bus drivers from those days, including Bernie Carroll, Norm Crampton and all the rest, are legendary.

And of course, if you’ve been reading the Gazette for a while, you know that Tim and I have a long history with the Brown family, including the fact that we bought our Bluff Road property from Ed and his wife Jo. My friend Marge (Brown) Long was born on the same day as my sister, Carol. Our moms shared a hospital room, and the story goes that Dad was taking a nap in the bed next to Mom’s, and they had to move him out of there to make way for Jo.

Here’s the full newspaper clipping below. You can see where Mom highlighted Ed’s name; he’s third from the right in the front row. And if you can’t read the caption on the photo, here it is:

“New school bus drivers in Grand Traverse county, who will take over their responsibilities within the next few days, have completed a rigid course of schooling under the direction of Sgt. Donald Downer, traffic specialist, Michigan state police and under the supervision of Walter Kinch, chief of the Traverse City school bus driver corps. On the left are Kinch and Sgt. Downer during a session of the class which includes new drivers from all parts of the county. New drivers who will assume their duties for the first time this year are Harold Battenfield, Fife Lake; Mrs. Robert Ramsey, Fife Lake; Leroy Ingersoll, Fife Lake; Raymond Ansorge, Traverse City; Harold Engle, Williamsburg; William Baker, Traverse City; Henry Beagle, Traverse City; Richard Wagner, Cherry Knoll; Ed Brown, Traverse City; Laurel Thompson, Traverse City; and Joseph Duffek, Williamsburg.”

What bus driver did you have? Leave thoughts and memories in the comments section at the bottom of this story.

Ed Brown goes to bus driving school, 1957, Traverse City, Michigan | Traverse City Record-Eagle; Old Mission Gazette Photo
Ed Brown goes to Bus Driver School, 1957, Traverse City, Michigan | Traverse City Record-Eagle; Old Mission Gazette Photo

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  1. I remember a substitute driver we had one year when I was in high school that whenever the bus noise was to loud or someone was acting up he would pull over and stop the bus until we quieted down. Sometimes it seemed like it took forever to get home! He had no issue with escorting problem makers off the bus. In grade school we had Mr. Brown. Mr. Kniss and sometimes Mr. Welhusen.

  2. My Dad, Bernie Carroll drove OMPS bus #7 for many years. I can certainly remember that big orange bus parked in front of our house on Center Road between runs. Dad loved the kids and often regaled us with funny stories. A couple that come to mind are when he had to return diamond cuff links and a half bottle of liquor gifted to him ( unbeknownst to the parents) by his riders. When my Dad passed away our family received several cards from kids who had ridden his bus. They wrote to us about his kindness and friendly manner. This really touched us and made us think how kindness leaves a lasting impression.

    • Good to hear from you, Cyndy! I never had your dad for a bus driver, but any time I ran into him at the store or wherever, he always said a kind “hello” and always knew my name. He was such a good guy and so well-loved in the community. I don’t know if it’s the case in other parts of the country, but our bus drivers are iconic souls in our Old Mission Peninsula history. They really had an impact on us, and the fact that we’re talking about them 50 years on says so much.

  3. Mr. Crampton was our bus driver along with Mr. Brown. Both great people.
    One year ? 1967-68 there were tornado warnings. We were dismissed early from school because of the warning. Our principal Mr. De Young had to drive our bus because there was not a driver available. It was a wild ride home that day since Mr. De Young didn’t know the route and I’m pretty sure he had never driven a school bus before! He would have us yell out when the bus was approaching our stop. Lots of hard breaking of the bus that day! As we rode along Bluff Road that afternoon we saw a water spout adding more excitement to an already crazy exciting day!

    • Hi Pat! Tim has a similar story from earlier in the 1960s. They let school out early and his bus went west on Island View, following the water spout around the Peninsula as kids were let off. He thinks Ed Brown was driving that bus. We think it’s the same day this photo was taken of 3-year-old me with the water spout in the background – that would have been 1963:


      • Hi Jane, OMP had a few water spouts in the day! We moved out to Bluff Rd in 1964. Norm Crampton was our regular driver, not sure where he is was that day, but Mr DeYoung was as shook up as we were that day riding home! Tim’s sister Sherry might remember, we rode the same bus 😊.


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