Stories for My Grandchildren

"The Runaway"

When I was 14 I lived in Springfield, Ohio. One day, after school, a buddy & I decided we were going to California where life was exciting, you could live on the beach, go surfing everyday and just have a wonderful time.

Well, it was still winter with snow on the ground as we finally ended up in the train yards down town. We started walking down the tracks looking for a bend, just waiting for a freight train to come along. We knew that trains slowed down in the bends and it would be easier to jump them.

We walked until way after dark probably a good 15 miles and not the sound of a train. I imagine it was in the 20s as we were quite cold. We decided to get off the tracks and walk up to route U. S. 40 one of the major highways that headed west.  By this time it was probably 10:00 p.m. and we were cold, hungry and nobody would stop for us. It was getting too cold to hitch a ride.

There was a motel across the highway and we decided we would go over and see if they had any hot chocolate. The night manager told us he didnít have any and asked us where our car was.  We told him it was broke down up the road. With that we left and started thumbing down the road again. About 10 minutes later a car slowed and we were ecstatic only to find out it was the Ohio Highway Patrol.  They asked us where we were headed and we said California and they started laughing. We were headed east!

We were taken back to Springfield and I was dropped off at my motherís restaurant where the whole staff, including my brother, Cliff, came to the window to see me sitting in the back of the squad car. I never did get punished. I guess mom figured I had taken enough ribbing over not knowing what direction California was.

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