July 1, 2016


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.  ?zZ

Edwina Olds, most lately Lieutenant, WACS (ret.) snorted, nodded, and said, “When I told people I was going to be a truck driver, they either laughed and told me it was no job for a woman or said I’d be dead in a week of hitting the road. But I survived the war and I’m gettin’ paid for something I love doing.”

“What?” asked Freddie Merrill, sliding further down the seat until his knees hit the dashboard and his head was bent at nearly ninety degrees.

“Driving boys around while Socialists, mobsters, witches, and crazy farmers chase after them.” She looked at Freddie Merrill and added, “Especially the Socialists part.”

“You like driving us?”

She turned back to her driving in time to see a road sign that proclaiming that Minneapolis was 100 miles ahead. She said, “Seventy miles boys, and we’re home. One hour.”

Freddie sighed and said, “A lot can happen in seventy miles.” He shook his head slowly, making strange noises because of his posture on the seat, “A lot.”

Tommy Hastings glared at Freddie, adding, “A lot can happen to somebody’s mom, too, if they let the Socialists get back to their house in the Cities.”

Freddie scowled, slid back up and turned to look out the window. They rode in silence for another half hour until Ed said, “You want me to drop you boys off at opposite ends of the street?”

“Why?” both boys said at the same time.

“Because every other trip I been on with you boys, you’d talk my ears off. You have one little disagreement and you’re ready to call off your friendship?”

“I didn’t say nothin’,” said Tommy, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ed said, “But Freddie wants your mother to get killed by gangsters, and witches, and Socialists.”

“I do not!” “He does not!” both boys exclaimed at the same time.

Ed grinned. Tommy and Freddie looked at each other. Freddie said, “I’m scared.”

 Tommy said, “Me, too.”

“Not you,” Freddie said, shaking his head. “You ain’t afraid of nothin’. I’m scared of everything.”

Ed said abruptly, “I was scared to death every day I was in the South Pacific.”

“No you weren’t, “ Freddie said, shaking his head. “You don’t have to be nice to me.”

“I ain’t bein’ nice to you, kid. I’m telling you the truth. I was scared every day I was in the Pacific.”

The truck roared on. The sign on the road read, “Minneapolis 50 Miles” Ed said, “We’d better have a plan, boys, before we get down there.” Both boys nodded as the truck roared on. Neither one spoke. She said, “So, what’s the plan?”
Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Pennsylvania_Turnpike_70_mph_1942.jpg

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