By April Durham
A family of 12 would be considered a huge responsibility by most.
But Jim and Evelyn Callaway, who retired last week after driving buses
for more than 30 years combined, had in their care hundreds of kids
In 1979, Evelyn Callaway, 66, began driving buses full-time for the
Delmar School District after she and her husband bought their first
Jim Callaway, 70, who was working at the DuPont Company, Seaford,
at that time, retired after 44 years in 1992. After a local bus driver
retired, Jim fell into the position and began a full-time Delmar bus
route in 1993.
"I started because I wanted to be at home in the summertime with my
children and to take care of my parents who both were in poor health,"
said Mrs. Callaway. "I had planned to get a full-time job because
my son had graduated from high school and was going to college. We
got a call from a supervisor who wanting to know if I wanted a school
bus. He told me, 'Don't tell me no, talk it over with your husband
and call me back on Monday.' So we talked it over and decided to do
On a typical day, Mr. Callaway would leave at 6:50 a.m. to begin his
first bus run to Delmar High School and then Delmar Elementary. After
returning home at 8:15 a.m. he would leave again at 2:30 p.m. for
his second run and return home at 4 p.m.
A typical day for Mrs. Callaway consisted of leaving the house at
7:10 a.m. and driving to Sussex Tech. After picking up students and
dropping them off at the school she would return home at 9:30 a.m.
At 2:10 p.m. she would leave again and return home by 4:25 p.m.
In addition to daily bus routes bus drivers attend monthly meetings
at each school where they drop kids off. Drivers keep logs on all
fuel bought and when buses are serviced or repaired. Three times a
year rosters are filled out, including a bus driver's first pick up,
what time it is and how many tenths of a mile each house is from the
other. A rather time consuming job when you have 40 to 50 kids.
After purchasing their first bus in 1979 the Callaways remember stopping
at each student's house in order to meet the parents. They tried to
establish good rapport with parents and today say that they never
had any problems with a parent.
Through the years, the Callaways have learned a lot about their students
as well as driving buses. Believing wholeheartedly that working with
kids keeps you younger, Mrs. Callaway says that she doesn't regret
one bit taking taking the job.
"I would rather work with kids than work with a machine that can't
talk to you. I sure have learned a new vocabulary that I would never
had known had I not driven a school bus. They have a language all
their own. I think in a way it [working with kids] keeps you younger,"
said Mrs. Callaway.
As years have gone by the couple says they have seen a lot of changes,
from bus construction to students.
"I think your buses have gotten better. They have been constructed
a little bit stronger. Comparing a bus in 1974 to one in 1999, the
bus had more rivets in the body for instance. The seats have high
backs and are cushioned. They afford more protection. At one time
they had medal posts on each side of the aisle up front. They've now
removed that," said Mr. Callaway.
Callaway recalls an evening when one student asked his peers on the
bus how many lived with one single parent or had a parent remarry.
She remembers vividly her surprise when most of the students acknowledged
that this in fact was their situation.
"One thing I've noticed that has changed is how many children live
with one parent. If we have to call a child's home you don't say Mr.
and Mrs. because for most of them it's not the last name as that child.
You just ask if this is the parent of that student," said Mrs. Callaway.
Although many things have changed through the years the Callaways
have tried to maintain one rule: "treat each child fairly and do not
show any sign of favoritism." Because they have done this, they feel
that the Lord has given them opportunities to share with students
who were in need.
"We [parents] blame kids for all the problems when it's not all the
kids. They've got lots of problems at home. It really calls for more
discipline. The kids get more things instead of love and attention.
Girls particularly, are looking for love from guys because they're
not getting it from fathers. If girls had their dads to put their
arms around and love on them they wouldn't be so crazy over having
half the guys love on them. It affects their grades as well as their
morals," said Mrs. Callaway.
Now that the Callaways are not having to meet a certain schedule,
they said they're able to make appointments more easily, and sleep
in a little longer.
"We don't have to worry about what the weather is going to be in the
morning, if it's going to be real foggy. Or that we need to get to
bed right now because we've got to get up at 5:15 a.m.," said Mr.
Today, the Callaways are trying to relax and take life one day at
"I'm planning on catching up on some painting-I've put it off-and
some caulking around the house. It was the type of thing I didn't
want to start because I had to go on the bus later that afternoon,"
said Mr. Callaway
As for Mrs. Callaway, well, she is looking forward to making a trip
to see her daughter, Karen Muessig, and three grandchildren in Georgia
sometime next month. The Callaways also have a son, Brett, Salisbury,
Md. Brett has two children.
Open house at library set
In celebration of 60 years of serving the community, the Delmar Public
Library will be holding an open house on Saturday, April 15. Refreshments
will be served.
Representatives of the Friends of the Delmar Public Library will have
information on on how to join the group.
The library is located at 101 N. Bi-State Boulevard across from the
Fire Hall. For more information call (302) 846-9894.
DVFD holding fund drive
The Delmar Fire Department ambulance fund drive applications have
been mailed. Those not receiving information may contact the department
at 302-846-2530. Cost for an individual/couple is $25; for a family,
$30 and for a business, $35.