Tag Archives: Central District

A tribute to Seattle’s best bus rider, who was also my friend

On November 19, 2019, my friend, Annie Lamb (known to me always and only as “Mrs. Lamb”), died unexpectedly. Today would have been her 80th birthday.

Annie Louise Cheatham came to Seattle an orphan. Her mother, Nina, died from an infection, which developed after an injury she sustained while washing other people’s laundry. I’m not sure how or when Annie’s father, Hiram, died.

After they lost their mother, Annie and her sister, Margaret, came to Seattle to live with their older brother, who was in the navy. In 1960, she married Thomas Lamb. In 1966, the couple bought a home on Madrona Drive, across the street from a 2 stop.* For the next 53 years, Mrs. Lamb was a 2 rider. She rode the bus everywhere—to shop for groceries and clothes and household items, to take her children to school and appointments, to work, to visit friends and family.

I met Mrs. Lamb in 2005, when I started attending Good Shepherd, the church where she’d been a member since the 60s. Over the 15 years we shared a congregation, I grew to love her. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • She kept it real.
    Mrs. Lamb rarely smiled. She would call you out in a heartbeat. To be honest, she wasn’t particularly nice. But Mrs. Lamb was kind. She showed up at my mother’s funeral when we were little more than acquaintances. She always remembered my children’s birthdays. She knew about Chicklet’s political plans and regularly brought her magazines with articles about female candidates. When my mother-in-law was suffering from a serious illness in 2018, Mrs. Lamb made her a blanket and prayed over it before she wrapped it up for me to send.
  • She became the elder she never had.
    As an orphan, Mrs. Lamb didn’t have anyone to look to for advice or help, to ask about family history or lean on in a crisis. But she became the rock for her own family. She was able to be there for her four children—Michael, Alison, Jason, and Vanessa—well into their adulthood. When they had families of their own, she become a beloved grandma, and, eventually, a great grandma. She and her sister Margaret** kept their connection throughout their lives, acting as co-matriarchs of the ever-expanding Seattle branch of Cheathams.
  • She did what needed to be done.
    Mrs. Lamb was not much for fanfare or attention. She was the person working behind the scenes, making sure things got taken care of. She was a deacon at the church and a member of the altar guild. She sewed the banners that we hung in the sanctuary. She watered the plants and made sure everyone separated their trash correctly. She decorated and cooked for almost every gathering, from big events like the annual Advent tea and Black History Month soul food dinner, to smaller gatherings like baby showers and birthday celebrations. She never expected (or wanted) recognition. She just did her part.
  • She loved the bus.
    Many members of Good Shepherd ride the bus. But Mrs. Lamb chose the bus. She called herself “Metro Annie,” because for her, the bus was more than a means to an end; it was an extension of her community.

    She got to know the drivers and the other riders. When she learned about Bus Driver Appreciation Day, she printed out transit-themed thank-you cards to pass out on the holiday. She looked out for unhoused people who found refuge in bus shelters, often bringing them water, blankets, and other necessities.

    She took care of stops, picking up trash whenever she saw it. In 2006, she organized our congregation to adopt a stop on 23rd Avenue, around the corner from the church. She faithfully picked up litter and emptied the stop’s trash can until Metro removed it—the can, that is—a couple of years later.

    She had an encyclopedic knowledge of buses and could tell you which route to take to get anywhere. She wore comfortable shoes even when she dressed up. Most days, she wore a backpack, in which, among other bus chick essentials, she carried a flare.***
Mrs. Lamb and her sister cleaning Good Shepherd's adopted stop
Mrs. Lamb with her sister and lifelong best friend, Mrs. Margaret Bell, taking care of Good Shepherd’s adopted stop

The 2 isn’t one of my family’s main routes, but pre-COVID, we rode it at least a few times a month. Sometimes, we would run into Mrs. Lamb on our rides, and it was always such a delight to see her in her element—with a shopping cart or a punch bowl or a bag of Christmas play costumes to drop off at the church.

When she joined the ancestors, I knew immediately how she needed to be honored. Just in time for her birthday, that vision become real. Thank you to the family of Beulah Dyer for the inspiration, to Mrs. Lamb’s son Mike for the photos, to Steve Tucker and Jaivier Forward for the beautiful design, and to Dale Cummings at Metro for making it happen.

Rest in peace, Annie Louise Cheatham Lamb. The bus isn’t the same without you.

Eastbound 2 stop, Union at Martin Luther King:

A bus shelter with a mural honoring Annie Lamb
A
A bus shelter with a mural honoring Annie Lamb
A bus shelter with a mural honoring Annie Lamb
A bus shelter with a mural honoring Annie Lamb

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*Incidentally, this is the same stop where I used to wait to catch the bus home from elementary school in the 80s. There’s a good chance we waited there at the same time at least once.

**Margaret. Bell was an amazing woman as well. She was the sweet to her sister’s salty, and she was also a bus rider. She died in September of 2019 and is missed by many, including me.

***To make herself visible on dark winter evenings

Hear my bus a comin’

If you’ve visited this blog more than a few times, you might already know that I am obsessed with (among many other things) bus shelters, art, and Seattle history. So, I was pretty excited to attend the unveiling of the Jimi Hendrix-themed bus shelter–at the northbound 48 stop at 23rd & Massachusetts–last November. (Yes, November. I’m still catching up, OK?) Unfortunately, thanks to a prolonged illness (and the whole new person in our family thing), I didn’t make the big event. The good news is, there’s a video.

Since the shelter opened, I have zoomed past it on the 48 dozens of times, but I have never had occasion to wait there. That is, until last Friday.

Fellow bus chicks, behold:

Hendrix shelter 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hendrix park 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hendrix park 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hendrix shelter 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimi Hendrix Park is just up the hill from the shelter and is currently undergoing a major transformation. The Northwest African American Museum is on the same grounds. Seattle folks: Might be time to hop on Metro’s Heavyweight and pay all three a visit.

Westbound 2 stop, 23rd & Union, after Easter service

Easter styleAnd the award for best Easter Sunday bus stop style goes to … this flawless, fashion-forward father-son team.

The competition was pretty stiff this year (folks at every bus stop in the neighborhood were dressed) but these two looked so sharp, we had to stop and give them props. Even Chicklet was impressed.

Well done, gentlemen!

Why we walk

Fun figurines at small people’s eye level:

Chicklet's favorite window

 

 

 

 

 

 

My small people have been enjoying these dolls, displayed in a ground-level apartment window on one of our well-beaten walking paths, as long as they’ve been aware enough to look around. Chicklet’s favorite is the dancing couple in the back. Busling likes the guy with the “insrament.”

Did I mention that they closed my stop?

This will teach me to choose a home based on its proximity to bus stops.*

Stop closed!

Dear bus rider: You’re screwed.

I’m more than a little irritated that Metro posted this notice in August and then never even responded to the feedback they requested–mine or anyone else’s.

I get all the stuff about stop consolidation and blah, blah, blah, and I will even admit to being a bit of a NaMBS (as in, “Not at my bus stop!”) about this. But there are legitimate reasons (other than the fact that I really need it) that this stop–and the one across the street from it–shouldn’t be closed.** If Metro doesn’t consider the reasons legitimate, they should explain why.

 

 

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*I should have gone with my instinct and moved near a Link station. Call me crazy, but I wanted to stay in my neighborhood.
**And hey, if they’re looking for stops to close, there are two stops less than a block apart slightly further north.

Families “in motion”

This weekend, I’ll be sharing what I know about busing with babies at a family transit workshop sponsored by the Squire Park in Motion Program.

What: A casual, kid-friendly workshop where parents can learn: “how to know where the bus is going; when it will arrive; how to keep kids entertained; what to carry with you for the trip; and other helpful things to know when riding the bus.”
When: Saturday, August 6, 10 – 11:30 AM
Where: Central Area Motivation Program, 722 18th Ave (served by routes 2, 3, or 4)
How much: Free!

Kids are welcome, of course, and there will be door prizes (zoo passes!) for the first 10 families to arrive. All particpants will receive a handy family transit guide to take home. Hope to see you there!