The town of Lawrence, where I grew up, is considered by most as either the redheaded stepchild of Kansas or the state’s only merit. An abolitionist stronghold after the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 with the streets at the center of town named after the New England states the settlers came from, it was burned to the ground in 1863 by a band of mercenaries and thugs led by William Quantrill. After the war, it then secured the University of Kansas (nearby Leavenworth got the federal prison) and is now called variously a progressive bastion and a refuge for aging hippies. Sometime before I started junior high, the Lawrence City Council decided, in the spirit of economic equalization, to bus the residents of lower-income North Lawrence, where I lived, to upper-middle-class Lawrence South Junior High School. My friend Adrian, with whom I used to compare the size of the cockroaches in our respective houses, was permanently scarred. He recently posted on Facebook that he still hates Swatch watches, as that was how the natives separated themselves from the imports. I looked at it differently. That bus commute was my underground railroad.