Riding the Clairmount Bus – 1969

Oddly enough, I do not have any personal photographs of buses. I do have an ancient journal entry chronicling a very bizarre bus ride I took in Detroit down Joy Road on the Clairmount bus in 1969. I had just graduated from Wayne State in December of 1968 and I was enjoying my freedom. I was living in my own apartment and working at the Black Star Clothing Factory. My cousin Barbara was living in New York City, the East Village. at the time and I was plotting and planning a visit with her. I did make it later that summer. I turned 23 that August.

Kristin and Barbara 1969, at her sister Dee Dee’s house.

I didn’t capitalize anything in the journal so I just left it like that.

journal entry

June 25, 1969

I don’t know what is going on, it isn’t good though. i was leaving friday for new york, but i don’t think so soon. i need a bit more time (for what?) i been listening to new leonard cohen record.  two days over and over at first it was tired, but now i really like it, after the old revolution, i liked best the partisan song about coming out the shadows. i am so sleepy .

everybody is mad/crazy, and i really don’t understand at all. i need pearl’s youth card so that I can leave, go to NYC.

 yesterday on the way to a photo show, I was on the clairmont bus on joy rd.  the driver was crazy, he acted like he was taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, he was weaving the bus in and out between cars.  that was bad enough – old ladies rocking, weaving and falling, when suddenly a red light backs up traffic, or just stops it. he pulls belligerently into the lane of oncoming traffic (which lucky for us was empty at the time) and raced two blocks in the wrong lane to pull and bully his way in front of some poor car when the light changed. I was cracking up. the people weren’t, just me.  I couldn’t control myself laughing, mouth open etc. they probably thought I was crazy or something. so ridiculous, can’t even imagine a regular car doing that shit. I just don’t know, I really don’t. some lunatic jehovah’s witness knocked on the door to give me a bible study tract. says god’s kingdom is eminent. we should be so lucky.

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14 thoughts on “Riding the Clairmount Bus – 1969

    1. My cousin cut my hair after the 1967 Detroit riot. I had it for decades until recently when it became more trouble to cut it than to just let it grow out. I wouldn’t have been going to NY if my cousin hadn’t been living there.

      I have had several memorable bus rides, but this is the only one I had a written record of 🙂

  1. That was a crazy bus ride! How wonderful to have this youthful perspective of yourself preserved in a journal. I’ve never been one to keep a journal. Sometimes for a few days or maybe a month and then I quit. I don’t think I have never listened to that album, but it does evoke a feeling of the time.

  2. Loved this accounting of a crazy bus ride. My crazy bus ride came on my regular commute to work in San Francisco when painters painting the underside of the upper traffic deck found themselves on failing rolling scaffolds and buses – mine included – were crazily pulling up under the scaffolds so the painters could jump off the doomed things. Rather exciting. But your bus ride certainly sounded exciting in its own weird way. Wow!

  3. I had the LP Songs from a Room with Leonard Cohen from 1969, The Partisan is on it… (I had the LP transferred to a CD many years ago) I was 14 at the time and didn’t have all that many records so those I had got played all the more often! (Cohen, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel…)

    1. I was in Norway staying at a hostile when I was about 34. We were eating stew for dinner and they played one of Lenard Cohen’s songs. Another person staying at the hostel was from Germany and we talked about when we first heard the song.

  4. This is a super spin on our Sepia Saturday theme. It reminds me of those countless movies where a normal bus gets involved in a bizarre mad chase. Any extra actor laughing in that scene would have been cut from the final movie. I wonder what caused the driver to act that way?

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