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Heater Seat Kid

DJ Souza

When I was approached about sharing something with the tagline "Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat", my mind immediately went to bus rides.

Growing up 14-20 miles out of town (depending on how "country" I want people to believe I am), my earliest memories of school involved getting on a bus. Some of my earliest detentions at school were because of stupid stuff involving a bus. If I had ever been suspended from school, I can say with crystal clarity that it would have involved a bus.

Being bussed about, from ski town to ranch town to front range... town is a fact of life for kids in North Park, but there's a certain aspect of bus trips, especially those taken in the winter, that will always stick itself right in the ol' medial temporal lobe: bus heaters.

North Park High School RE-1 had pretty decent busses. They all couldn't be the sterling representation of luxury and class that the infamous "Crown" bus was, but that's a tale for a different day. Despite the relative quality of the busses, you never knew what kind of interior weather you were about to experience.

You see, these buses we had took the idea of "central heating" a little to seriously. There were two heaters on either side of the aisle, and these things pumped out the HITS when they were blasting air. Someone didn't think about the rather, dare I say, dickish tendencies of middle and high school-aged students. Sure, you could be a cool upperclassmen and sit at the back of the bus, but the smart winter riders nabbed the heater seats.

Heater seat kids were like that coworker who screws with the thermostat every morning. Just by moving their oversized duffle bag from the overhead storage to the floor would make their entire 1/4-bus 58 degrees cooler in a matter of minutes. When that happens, that bus section would ask Michelle, or Donny, or Enid, "Hey! Could we get some heat?"

Once the heat was really cranking, the bag would probably get moved because a cheese stick was melting or perhaps the plastic lining had caught fire... something like that. Then you have Satan, himself, crawling out of the heaters and asking you to turn it down.

We were never happy with the heat situation.


I've begged and pleaded with a few folks to share their humor of growing up here with our blog this month, DJ being one of them. He was always such a character through school and knew how to lighten up any situation. He's the young man that was adorably ornery in elementary, made you wish the paddle was still an option in Middle School, then made you cry as you saw him walk across the stage receiving his diploma!

DJ writes a funny little BLOG that reminds you why you miss having him around... silly anecdotes about the random. I hope you will check it out. We will be sharing his Winter Driving blog story next winter! (We are tired of winter here and don't want to think about it anymore!) Also check out DJ's book- Fates Tape Deck.

Here's what DJ shared with me about his current state of life:

" DJ Souza graduated from North Park High in 2005, after a tumultuous 15-year relationship with sports, school, and accidents involving his dad's truck. Currently, he resides in Herington, KS where he, through jokes that are not lost on him, he works for the local school district in the IT department. He's married to the mayor, has 5 kids and 5 animals, and is better at self-deprecation than you."

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