August 21, 2014


This series is a little bit biographical and a little bit imaginary about my dad and a road trip he took in the summer of 1946, when he turned fifteen. He and a friend hitchhiked from Loring Park to Duluth, into Canada and back again. He was gone from home for a month. I was astonished and fascinated by the tale. So, I added some speculation about things I've always wondered about and this series is the result. To read earlier SHORT LONG JOURNEY NORTH clips, click on the label to the right, scroll down to and click OLDER ENTRIES seven or eight times. The FIRST entry is on the bottom of the last page.

“What kind of trouble?" asked Tommy Hastings, suddenly  feeling cold down to his toes. It had nothing to do with the cool night air, damp with the water flowing up on to the land from Lake Superior.

Arnie Volz, truck driver and boyfriend of Edwina Olds, Lieutenant, WACS (ret.) down-shifted the truck and said nothing.

“What? What happened?” Freddie Merrill asked.

“People that are with you – you whose parents are in deep trouble with powerful politics – might get in the way of the politics and be hurt. I don’t think this is something that Ed wanted to get involved with,” said Arnie. “I think it would be best if you boys got off here,” he slowed the semi and finally squealed to a halt. Nodding to toward the truck’s door, he added, “I’m gonna have to ask you boys to get out.”

Freddie cried out, “We’re not even to the city yet!”

“I’d say that’s a good thing for me,” he said.

Freddie said, “But...”

Tommy shoved him against the door as he reached for the handle. He turned back to Arnie and said, “I think you’re wrong, Mr. Volz. But thanks for the ride, anyway.” Tommy shoved Freddie out the door.

“Hey! It’s not my ma and dad’s in trouble with Commies!” He landed on his feet, turned and looked up at Tommy. “They want to kill you! I wanna go home!” He pushed past Tommy and said, “Take me home! The Commies don’t want me! They want Tommy!”

Tommy stepped away from the semi, stumbled when he came to the edge of the asphalt, staring at Freddie. He said, “You leaving me?”

Freddie looked up into the cab. Arnie was staring down at him from the driver’s seat. He looked back at Tommy who sighed, turned, and started walking.

Arnie called out, “Better turn around kid, Duluth’s the other way.”

“Not going back home,” Tommy said. A moment later he disappeared along the back of the semi.
Freddie looked up at Arnie and started to climb into the cab. He paused, looked back at Tommy, then finished climbing in. He slammed the door. Without a word, Arnie put the truck in gear and started south down the highway to Duluth.

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