It had been five months since I had come through Greenwich on my way to Florida, and my mother was happy to see me and she put John and I up for the night. She had a boy friend staying with her, so we only stayed one night. They would later end up marrying. I told her we planned to spend the summer in Nantucket and we had to get up there in order to get jobs before too many students showed up.
We hitched up to Nantucket catching the boat over to the island. I decided to settle into the same guest house I had stayed at the summer before, and I took my old job working in the French restaurant, and John took a job working in a dairy store. No matter what one did when they left Nantucket, when one returned it always seemed to be the same on the island.
We settled into the routine of going to the beach in the day time and working in the evening. The island was more crowded with students that year, and a few of my old friends wanted to know what had happened to Jimmy and I said last I heard he was on his way to California.
There were a lot of college students staying at the guest house and we would have many fun times partying with them all. The guest house had been run by an older nurse that had spent her entire life on the island and she had had many hundreds of younger people staying in her home over the years. She would fill us with stories of the folklore of the island which seemed isolated in time.
Nobadeer beach was extremely crowded that summer, and the restaurant was very busy in the evening. Since John hated to cook, I use to bring him dinner from the restaurant after work in the evening. We used old bicycles to explore around the island for most of the summer. There was a great deal of new construction going on around the island, and mid way through the summer we decided to take jobs as painters which paid better that other jobs. We worked on a three hundred year old house scrapping paint with a crew of carpenters from the Cape. There were rumors that the man who owned the house was Mafia, but we were being paid well, so there were no complaints. However working in the day time, there was no time for the beach except weekends.
We got plenty of sun while watching the boats go by in the harbor. It was a nice existence going from island to island of endless summer. I spent an entire month scrapping the paint of an elaborate colonial doorway. We had many friends and the summer was going by all too fast.
In mid August I found and old Subaru for sale for $150, so we bought it for cheap transportation. There was one catch. I had to pull the whole engine and replace the clutch myself which took about a week of inexpert work. We continued painting after labor day enjoying touring the island in the car. John bought me a surf casting rod, and I spent many evenings hauling in the blue fish and selling them to restaurants. Around the first of October, we had saved enough money to leave the island, so we took off in the Subaru headed for California. We stopped by in Greenwich on the way down to visit with my mother, and John decided not to visit with his family as we traveled through the New York area.
We visited with one of my sisters in Philadelphia and her family and then we started off across Pennsylvania only to have the muffler break after a few hundred miles. I remember trying to make temporary repairs on the muffler in Allentown, while John listening to the radio was telling me the Pope had died again. In our travels we heard so little of the news since we did not watch television and read various newspapers infrequently that the news seemed an entirely different world away. Finally I was able to find parts to fix the car in Cleveland, and we arrived in Chicago to find my youngest sister was not home, although they had moved there from Atlanta during the summer. I took John up to visit my college at Lake Forest, and only recognized the college president and my math teacher. On Saturday afternoon most of the college was at the football game. From Lake Forest we drove down to Champaign to visit my grandparents who were getting older. I had not seen them in several years and I had a good time talking about the family and the days when we were younger. I told them I had seen my father in Miami that winter when he was changing planes coming back from Brazil, and they were happy my youngest sister was living nearby in Chicago. After a couple of days of visiting, we set off for my eldest sister's home in Tulsa.
The trip to Tulsa was unadventful and we were welcomed when we arrived. My sister only had a room with a water bed to put us in and we spent several evenings and days talking about the family and the various adventures of travel.
After leaving Tulsa, we started down towards Texas, and in Abilene, the filling station attendant forgot to close the hood properly and the hood blew up and cracked the windshield. We would pursue the rest of our trip staring through a cracked windshield.
In Arizona we stopped off to visit the Grand Canyon which was covered with a dusting of snow. We proceeded on into Southern California and headed into Laguna Beach to rest for a couple of days after our cross country trip.
After having rested a few days on the beach during which I spent time wrapping and varnishing my surf casting rod while watching the surfers, we decided to drive up to San Francisco arriving on Columbus Day. The Fisherman's Wharf area was closed to vehicular traffic and there was a great festival going on. Supposedly the Queen of Spain was in the city. We traveled on the cable cars and walked all over the city. There was a railroad convention going on in the Grand Hyatt, and I was enthralled by its modern architecture.
After a day of adventure we decided to drive back south where it was warmer in Laguna. We stopped off in Santa Barbara and toured the old mission. There were several bus loads of Polish tourists who were terribly excited since a Polish cardinal had just been elevated to Pope.
Finally we arrived in Laguna Beach and took a small efficiency room in an hotel overlooking the beach. We were running low on funds, so we knew we had to go back to work. We found temporary work handing out telephone books throughout the neighborhoods of Laguna Beach, and learned our way around quite quickly. The Laguna area was in turmoil because there had been mud slides washing away a number of the homes overlooking the ocean.
Our routine of handing out telephone books was becoming exhausting and we weren't making enough money to pay our bills. On Thanksgiving day we were evicted for non payment of rent while I had a turkey in the oven. It was all very silly since we were due to receive a paycheck the next day. We spent that evening eating the turkey in the car, and were surprised by the police who could not believe we were eating a turkey. The news was not good locally. The mayor of San Francisco had been shot and the surrounding areas of Las Angeles including Malibu and the Laguna area were being swept by forest fires and there was a pink haze through out the skies.
The next day there was a tidal wave watch for Southern California, so I decided it was time to head back east. We decided to take a more northerly route heading through Las Vegas up into Utah. The weather was very cold and after Salt Lake City, the snow started falling heavier and heavier. The car handled fine since it had front wheel drive although the heater did not work so well. We drove all night through the snowy rockies and the following day arrived in Vail that evening which had two feet of fresh snow, however Loveland pass to Denver was closed to vehicles without snow tires or chains, and we did not have enough money to buy snow tires. I had an inspiration. After searching through the discarded tires at a number of tire shops, I had a free pair of used Michelin tires which I had mounted on the car. We drove effortlessly over the two feet of fresh snow on the pass and down into Denver. After that I thought the Subaru was a great car for driving on snow.
It was cold and we did not have any money to stay in a hotel, so we spent the night at Stapleton airport, which was closed. I tried calling a cousin that I thought lived in Denver, but he had moved. The next day we started across the great plains in the ice storm. The storm was keeping pace with our travel eastward, and few other cars were on the road. We were lucky that the snow tires I had found had studs and they handled well on the ice. After a day we had worked our way over to Tulsa, and we stopped by briefly at my sister's house and she leant us some money to continue our trip. We had decided to head down to the warmth of Florida and possibly Key West.
After leaving Oklahoma, we drove through floods in Louisiana, tornadoes in the Florida pan handle and when we arrived in Key West there was a hurricane watch on. I had had my fill of traveling and the constantly inclement weather.
We stayed a couple of weeks camping out in the Keys and fishing. Our old hotel was occupied by guests and there were no cheap places to be had since the island was becoming more touristy and commercial. However, we had a good time pursuing our old routines and John said we could go visit his sister in Daytona.
We spent a couple of weeks with John's sister and then we started north for Christmas. We arrived the week before Christmas and spent time house sitting for my mother and on Christmas we bought a tree in Greenwich and took it out to John's parent's house. They were happy to see him, since they had not seen him in close to a year.
We spent Christmas day at his house, and spent the following week helping prune an apple tree around his grandmother's house.
After New Years, we decided to return to Florida. We spent several weeks traveling along the coast of Florida, unable to find a place in the Keys.
I was able to find a new windshield for the car in Fort Lauderdale, and at least we could see clearly again. After having explored most of both coasts of Florida, we decided to go visit John's sister in Daytona. She was going to aeronautical school and working as a waitress in the evening, so we had the apartment mostly to ourselves. We were nearly broke and I would spend most of the days working on the car and surf casting in the afternoon. We tried watching television, but I found it boring. John had an idea that we could get work cutting down dead palm trees with the chain saw that was in the back of the car left over from pruning his grandmother's trees. We started taking off on several day trips along the coast cutting down dead palm trees where we found them. Because of a fungus there were quite a lot of them and we made enough money to survive.
However, we kept returning to John's sister's apartment since it was the least expensive place to stay. After several months of visiting we were beginning to wear out our welcome, so in April we decided to head north to Connecticut. We had both cut out hair which had grown down to our waists, so we looked somewhat more conservative.
When we arrived in Greenwich, my mother said she was going down to Philadelphia with her boy friend since my sister was due to have her baby any day.
While my sister was having her baby, my mother and her boy friend got married, and she returned with the surprising news. She would be moving into her husband's apartment in New Canaan, and John and I would be able to use her apartment until the lease ran out at the first of August.
We helped her move most of her belongings up to New Canaan, and I got my few belonging out of the garage to furnish the empty apartment.
We would have the apartment for three months, so I took up woodworking in the garage with some tools we had bought during an ill fated attempt to return to Nantucket earlier that month to be carpenters which had failed since John had no carpentry ability.
I proceeded to build my mother a campaign chest for her wedding present. It was built out of solid oak and quite well made. As the summer came along she and her husband would be going up to his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. She asked me to build a wardrobe in the basement of their New Canaan apartment for storing her extra clothes. I would spend the end of June and early July building the wardrobe. I built it like a ship to be moisture proof, however it looked like a gigantic free standing cube in the middle of the cellar.
In the meantime John had bought a new bicycle with his birthday money and was enjoying riding around Greenwich.
As the end of July came along I moved my processions out of the apartment in Greenwich to the cellar in New Canaan, and gave up the apartment in Greenwich which could not be renewed without paying a lot on the rental.