Greyhound Terminal
West Avenue
Newport News, VA 23607
THEN: NOW:
1940s Thursday, January 15, 2004

Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/19/03
Thanks, Dave!

Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/15/04
Thanks, Dave!

MY GREYHOUND BUS STATION STORY
        -or-
HOW A 4-YEAR OLD CAN PUBLICLY HUMILIATE HIS PARENTS ... AND GRANDPARENTS

It was most likely some time in 1950. My family had moved away from Newport News and had been living in Roanoke for some time. But Mom was homesick for Newport News, so we seemed to return to visit my grandparents on 47th Street fairly often but, then,  what does a 4-year old know about the passage of time or the concept of "often"?  Our move to Roanoke was the topic of conversation during those visits, and I must have overheard their joking comments about Roanoke being up in the mountains and populated by "hillbillies". Even at that tender age I think I knew that "hillbilly" was not a particularly flattering term.  I don't believe that they were aware that my little ears were vacuuming up all these comments with typical youthful curiosity.

On this visit we had come by Greyhound bus, so when the time came to return, my grandparents drove us to the bus station on West Street.  As the destination of the bus was Roanoke, it follows that the bus was predominantly filled with Roanoke residents and natives ... and the platform was filled with their relatives and friends who knew that.

I have this image in my mind of the bus having backed out of the diagonal parking space and pointing toward 27th Street, waiting to depart.  So, I was hanging out an open window on the right side of the bus, watching all the people on the platform waving goodbye to their loved ones. The moment seemed ripe for some profound statement of farewell, so when I spotted my grandparents, I waved vigorously and shouted at the top of my lungs:

"BYE GRANDMA, BYE GRANDADDY.  WE'RE GOING BACK UP TO VISIT THE HILLBILLIES."

I wish that I could report to you the reaction of my grandparents, but I seemed to have been snatched back into the bus instantaneously. I will leave that to your imagination.

Epilogue:  Much later in life have I learned that my grandfather was born and raised in Blacksburg, only a short distance from Roanoke, and came to Newport News around 1903 to work in the Shipyard. Indeed, his father was a farmer and tanner.  So, wayyyyyy back in 1950 when he was commenting on "hillbillies", I suppose he knew just what he was talking about.
 

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 04/14/04
Thanks, Dave!  This is a classic!


(This page was created on 10/19/03.)


1950 Greyhound Bus Advertisement courtesy of https://www.etsy.com/listing/63453415/1950-original-advertising-greyhound-bus - 07/21/16

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