School in a bus?! Why, yes. When we couldn't find a nature center or farm with a building to move into and we couldn't find a building with enough land for us to explore (and have you seen the prices of commercial real estate?); we came up with a better idea. We bought our own little piece of real estate on wheels.
After much time perusing Craigslist and learning more than our fair share about transmissions, tires, volts, and fuel; in late September, 2016, we found THE ONE - a 1991 Thomas Built Navistar International bus. A nice man in Taylor, TX (which is out in the farmland to the east of Round Rock) was selling the bus he'd used for a few road trips with his buddies. He had bought it five years earlier from the Thrall ISD nearby. As luck would have it, he also happened to have worked as a bus mechanic and had taken good care of this bus (which had been used as a substitute bus, being driven less often than usual). There were a couple of visits and a test drive on the unpaved county road (all mailboxes still standing) and some transmission work. Finally, on November 22nd, two days before Thanksgiving, we made the trek back to Dallas. As luck would have it (once again), we found dear friends to be thankful for who happened to be school bus drivers in the Leander ISD (which is out in the Hill Country to the west of Round Rock). They just happened to be driving up to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving and agreed to drive an old bus to Dallas on the way.
It was now time to learn more than our fair share about titles, registrations, dust, and bus seat removal. Dust. Being parked for five years out in the Texas countryside, one accumulates plenty of dust. Many buckets of soapy water made this better. The next few months brought lots of visits from amazing and talented friends who knew everything about batteries, engine parts, plumbing, electrical wires, nails, screws, saws, drills, IKEA allen wrenches, and so much more. A drive through East Dallas revealed the name Matilda on a street sign in a cozy neighborhood. It seemed fitting. Matilda soon found a new home with generous people who had space for her to park and the knowledge to take care of her. We had driving practice, unexpected parking brake repair, and finally it was time to receive the most honored guests, the children. Seed Preschool began on April 11th, 2017.