Within ten short days in 1964, a young boy’s life changed forever on his first vacation. Ronnie Shaw, a 6th-grader from the inner-city projects of Atlanta, climbed aboard the big, yellow bus with thirty-three other boys for the vacation of a lifetime filled with laughter, tears, and tragedy.
Come with the boys of Atlanta as they hit Florida like a category 4 hurricane. The Yellow Bus Boys traveled over 1500 miles in just ten days that summer. They romped from stem to stern through The Sunshine State. I’ve been told Florida has not been the same since.
Their journey was epic, their conquests were few, the cities they were tossed from were more. Travel with the boys down the west coast and back up the east coast of Florida in less than 240 hours. The cities and the citizens who suffered their American, graffiti-filled tour were reduced to jubilation, laughter, and tears after the yellow bus left them in its exhaust.
Targeted Age Group:: young adult, adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This is my second book that followed closely behind SEVEN FISH TREE. Its inspiration came from a wonderful program that existed back in the 1960s and 1970s whereby young boys could earn a 10-day free vacation in the summer for perfect school attendance and the graduation to the next grade from the 6th thru 12th grades.
The program was an outreach attempt to keep young boys in school, out of trouble, and alive in distressed areas of Atlanta, Georgia. It was co-sponsored by the Boys’ Clubs of America, McDonald’s Hamburgers, and our local Atlanta Lions’ Club.
This book is based in 1964 when I earned my first vacation, free or otherwise. At the time, during my 6th-grade year, we lived in an Atlanta government housing project.
This is the story of that trip. You’ll find laughter and tears as you ride along with us for 10 days and nights during the summer of 1964 in THE YELLOW BUS BOYS.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The overwhelming majority of my characters were actually one the trip with me. Only two of the characters are fictitious. I challenge you to decide which are not real characters.
Peril. That’s what I’m in…peril, and I’m barely twelve
years old, I thought.
I was very close to losing a free summer vacation with the
Warren Memorial Boys’ Club, that is, ten whole days in Florida
away from misery in the hood. Crazy thoughts ran through my
fevered brain. Scenarios sprang in and out of my mind as frequently
as the sweat that poured from my face and head.
The chills were the worst. I tossed and turned, soaking wet
throughout the night. My brain could not rest. I had no sleep all
night, and the early birds were already chirping just outside the
raised window of our bedroom.
Mike, my older brother, knew I was sick, and he suffered
through the night of despair with me. We shared a bed on the second
floor of our apartment which faced Memorial Drive. There
was a lit streetlight within twenty feet of our window.
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