(This series is a little biography and a little imagination. The biography will detail a month long trip my dad took in the summer of 1946 when he and a friend hitchhiked from
“We gotta get you outta town,” Tommy Hastings said. “But I still gotta tell somebody.”
“No!” Freddie Merrill exclaimed. His shout echoed off the dark walls of apartments and row houses surrounding
Tommy shushed him and whispered, “You want Officer Lars to rap on your head some more with his night stick?”
Freddie cringed and turned to look in the park. Whispering, he said, “Who you gonna tell?”
“May. She’ll know when to let Mom and Dad know we left for
Freddie nodded as they turned right on to West 15th and ran lightly down the sidewalk to the walk up where the
Neither one woke until early afternoon. They’d curled face-to-face with their feet pulled up on the bed and woke with a start when a string of black cat firecrackers rattled away outside the little bedroom window. Tommy ‘bout fell out of bed then peeked out into the hallway and whispered back to Freddie, “Dad’s sleeping in the living room. I think Mom’s out housecleaning.” With his dad retired on an Army pension, his mom still had to work outside the home. She’d been a domestic when she’d met Guy Hastings in
“We gotta go,” Tommy said. He went to his dresser drawers and pulled out socks, underwear, T-shirts and another pair of pants. He grabbed his swimsuit and pillowcase, stuffing everything into it. “I’m ready.”
“What am I supposed to take? All my stuff’s at home!” Freddie said.
Tommy looked at him and rolled his eyes, “We’re the same size, dummy! We can wear the same stuff,” he said, going to the dresser and throwing more things on the bed. He stripped the pillowcase from his pillow and stuffed the things into it. “OK, we should get going if we’re gonna get there before sundown.” He held out the case.
Freddie stared at it for a while before he finally took it. “Can I have the other one? That’s gonna stink like you,” he said, “I’ve never been away from home for more than a couple nights.”
Tommy shrugged. “We have to go.” He slung the dirty pillowcase over his shoulder, opened the door again, peeked out and said, “Come on.”
They left by the front door. May was just coming up the steps, wearily plodding. She worked in the office at General Mills on the
“Have a nice trip. Write when you get a chance,” she replied. She was in the house and shutting the door an instant later.
“‘Have a nice day’ to you, too,” Tommy said. He looked at Freddie then turned away quickly when he saw the look on his face. “Let’s go.” They went back to
“Shut out and stick out your thumb.”