Cheryl Adams Richkoff





“The best stories for teaching and telling flow from a life of risk. Of adventure, suffering, and laughter.”

Cheryl Adams Richkoff

Cheryl Adams Richkoff

“The windshield wipers slammed back and forth across the glass and the headlamps gleamed into the gray mist. Fog wove tendrils around the now warm bus chassis and spread in thick banks over the fields to either side. DeWitt took his foot off the clutch and eased his vehicle up the driveway and into the main road, heading to Hurtsville, where his route began. He was proud of the bus, having just purchased it from a builder down in Newport News the previous October. It was pricey, sixty-five dollars a month for the next two years, but his long route – the longest in the county – and the perpetual bad road conditions demanded a vehicle more modern than the little Model T chassis wagon contraption he’d bought from a friend two years ago when he finally was awarded his own bus route.

The extra money running a school bus route came in more than handy; Dewitt was a farmer with a wife and six children, and a seventh due that summer. Even if crops failed in a given year, he could still pay the bills and keep food on the table. Like most Virginia farmers of his time and for generations before, DeWitt grew acres of tobacco every year. Labor-intensive and delicate almost to a fault, prey to insects, worms, and weather, it was annually risked by many because the pay off at the end of the year, when the harvested, smoked, stripped, and tied crop would generally bring in such a sum that a family could almost live on alone till the next crop sold. Almost.

The investment of the new bus was a good one, he figured. A guaranteed paycheck each month was rare in rural Virginia. And yet, between the payments, the cost to run it, the maintenance and the dangers presented on the rugged roads, eighty dollars a month was not enough. He was losing money at this rate, and had no choice but to approach the board and ask for a raise.” ---Cheryl Adams Richkoff, Mr. Witt’s School Bus


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