Do you remember the J.O.Y. Bus?
Sherryle Jones certainly does; in fact, she said it changed her life. Now she says she wants to get those kids together for a reunion to reminisce about those church busing days and learn about where life has taken them.
From 1973 to 1995, the Church of Christ operated a bus for Carthage kids to be transported to and from church twice on Sundays and once on Wednesdays. It was called the “J.O.Y. Bus.”
“It was a ministry,” Jones said, who is a teacher at the Carthage Junior High School. “We taught the kids on the bus, sang songs and had so many great memories. We did it for so long that we started teaching those kids’ kids.”
The J.O.Y. Bus caught the attention of the community when an article was published in The Carthage Press Dec. 17, 1974. The article read: “100 Plus – One hundred plus was the goal of the J.O.Y. Bus No. 2 of the Church of Christ on Dec. 8. The goal was reached with 128 passengers on the bus and an assisting van. This was a record for the church’s five J.O.Y. buses. J.O.Y. stands for Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. An attendance record was also set for worship service that day with 402 attending. (Photo by Carl Taylor).”
So does anyone remember this? The evidence is apparent by the Facebook response Jones started.
“Puff puff, chug chug, ooga ooga, beep beep, puff chug! Fill up joy bus number 1!!!!!” wrote Melissa Smith Wood, from Carthage.
“I rode the J.O.Y. bus – you were my favorite church. I wouldn’t of missed it for nothing,” said Kimberly Hylton Stirewalt, from Carthage.
Jones started notifying the public of the reunion through Facebook under her name, and started the event “JOY Bus Reunion.” The event is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Lighthouse, 800 S. Main St. She says the kids (now grown) who rode the bus have spread out across the nation, but are responding to her requests. Jones said she hopes the bus had a positive affect on their lives, because it surely did for her.
“I couldn’t have taught junior high without my experiences on that bus,” Jones said. “It changed my life. And I hope we can all get together and enjoy those memories.”