‛Bus Mom’ Lynette, a friend of many students for 20 years
Regulars on the No 2 bus out of Hamilton will likely remember Lynette Waldron.
For more than 20 years she was a favourite with Paget Primary School and Gilbert Institute students especially, making them cookies every week, dressing in costume and ensuring they were well-behaved on her five-minute commute from the bus terminal to Point Finger Road in Paget.
“I called myself ‘bus mom’,” the 75-year-old said. “If the students acted up, all it took was a look from me and they quieted down.”
One December day she boarded wearing a Santa Claus costume.
“I had my photo taken with the bus driver,” she said. “I got off on Point Finger Road and walked to my job at Pals. I received waves and horn toots from people driving by. I waved back. That was fun.”
Covid-19 put an end to it all; Ms Waldron gets a ride in to work with a friend. To show her appreciation she still takes in cookies for the drivers and once gave them special pins as a thank-you.
She describes herself as a people person.
“That’s my gift,” she said. “I’m the crazy person in the family they tell me.”
At Christmas she dons her Santa costume and makes everyone in her family sit on her knee – no matter what their age. At Easter she organises a big party with marbles and egg hunts.
“Sometimes we may have up to 32 people,” she said.
She is proud that her family gets together regularly. Codfish breakfasts on Sundays is a must.
She has been with Pals since 1998. First the cancer charity’s administrative assistant, she now coordinates its band of volunteers and helps arrange fundraisers. A series of Bingo nights a few years ago drew a fantastic response however the pandemic has put in-person events on hold.
“But we held our tag day virtually, and that did really well,” she said. “It was a winner.”
Ms Waldron grew up on Friswell’s Hill, Pembroke, where she was the third of six children born to Roslyn and George Harvey.
She thinks she got her people skills from her mother, who worked in stores around Hamilton – Jack ‘n’ Jills and Trimingham Bros.
“Everyone knew her,” Ms Waldron said.
Her father was a construction worker who died when she was in her teens.
At the Central School, now Victor Scott Primary, her favourite subjects were mathematics and sports.
“I was a sprinting champion at the school, and I also loved playing netball,” she said. “I still have my netball outfit from those days.
“The teachers were good with us. They had us under cover. If you did not do your work, your mother would know before you got home, even though no one had a telephone.”
She then went to Prospect Secondary School for Girls where she wanted to study nursing but the class was cancelled after only Ms Waldron and a friend signed up.
“They needed six students for the course to go ahead,” she said.
She took business and secretarial lessons instead and followed them up with classes in speed writing and shorthand at Bermuda College.
“My first job was at Tele Radio, a television repair shop on Court Street run by Eugene Woods,” she said. “This is the 1970s. While I worked there I learnt to use one of those old-fashioned typewriters. I worked on my business skills there.”
In the years that followed she worked at Stuarts on Reid Street, Marks & Spencer and Locals Only.
“I think Stuarts was my favourite of those places,” she said. “I worked in the repair department dealing with customers. We hung together like family.”
She spent a decade working for insurers Harnett & Richardson Ltd before the company was taken over by Freisenbruch-Meyer Group. When staff were made redundant she moved to PALS in November 1998.
In 2007 the Spanish Point resident became secretary of the PLP Pembroke West branch, working with the late Walton Brown Jr.
“I got involved because my cousin was there and got involved, and my niece knew him,” she said.
Her idea was that she might as well “keep busy”.
For about three years she canvassed with Mr Brown and treated him once to codfish and potatoes at her home.
“It was fun to meet people and talk with them and hear them express themselves. It was good for me. I like to meet people. We talked and laughed.”
Today her passions are baking and sewing. She often keeps batter in the fridge so she can easily make cookies if someone needs a pick-me-up. Ms Waldron recently made treats for the kitchen staff at King Edward VII.
She learnt to sew, somewhat reluctantly, at Prospect Secondary.
“I had to do it to graduate,” she said. “We had to make our own graduation dresses. Now I sew for many friends and have made wedding dresses, school uniforms and other things.”
She remains close with her old classmates.
“I have organised reunions,” she said. “We get together to raise money to help our friends with medical expenses, or just to talk about our school days. At one point, we honoured our head mistress Dorothy Thompson.”
In 2008 she was made a Justice of the Peace.
“You don’t know who nominated you,” she said. “When I found out I asked, ‘Why me?’ They said because I do lots of stuff. I have never married anyone as Justice of the Peace, but I have signed a few passports.”
She has one son, Antoine Waldron and one grandson, Antoine Waldron Jr.
Lifestyle profiles the island’s senior citizens every Wednesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or email@example.com with the full name and contact details and the reason you are suggesting them.