Sunday, March 27, 2011

1945 Road Trip II

It’s a hoot to read the story of Dick’s cross-country jaunt, because I took a similar ramble across the U.S., also in a high-school summer, also on a lot of buses (but without the hitchhiking), also stopping by the families of friends I was traveling with—and also making a point of stopping in Laramie, Wyoming, on the outbound leg, getting off the bus to spend the night and meet with relatives of my grandmother, who grew up there. At the time I knew nothing about the trip Dick had taken 35 years before.

Four penny postcards, written in pencil, postmarked North Platte, Nebraska, 10:30 a.m., July 2, 1945, addressed to The DeWitts, 3482 Knollcrest Ave., Los Angeles 43, Calif. (The second card is addressed to Mr. & Mrs. & Doug DeWitt.)

Dear Mom & Dad & Doug

afternoon July 1, 1945

I didn’t get to write the last two nights but I am writing now. When I get to Detroit I’ll write a good letter.

How are you? We are just fine! July 29 [sic] we stayed at Craig Colo. The man that picked us up out of Las Vegas brought us there, and we stayed with him. We could have gone on with him to Denver, but as we were stopping by Laramie, we had to cut up to the Lincoln HI-Way.

Being we were on a bad road, we had trouble getting rides. We expected to get to Laramie early, but we got there at about 5:30. The stores in Laramie close up at 6:00! & we just said hello to Uncle Bert & Guy & Mr. Walker. They all said to say hello!

We had a ride to Cheyenne that night. It was pretty rainy in Laramie so we decided to go on. The man said he knew the Raifs? [handwriting unclear, but he writes a question mark after the name and underlines it, as if he’s not sure of the name either]

When we left Cheyenne we went on about 30 miles out of Cheyenne & we stayed at an auto court. This morning going was pretty slow. We got to Pine Bluffs and were able to get a bus to Omaha—so here we are on the bus. That’s why my writing is so jumpy. The roads just got better, as we came into Nebraska. We’ll get into Omaha at 7:30 tomorrow morning. The drivers change at N. Platt. [sic]

I’ve been wanting to send you a birthday greeting, but we seemed to pass through all the towns where I could send one. But here’s wishing you

A H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y.

[spelled out in block letters like a telegram]

Say hello to Bill for me and tell him I’ll be thinking of him. I guess that’s about all now, so until later, I’ll be seeing you.



Petrus said...

How the way people adressed their concerns and moments of happiness and wonderment is different from the present ways of communication. The simple fact that words were written gives a hint about the personal feelings of the person who wrote. There were also official "formulas" to begin and finish a letter. Like the "Here, everything is going well...". Very interesting Doug. A black and white memory of the feelings of this time. Thank you.

mrjumbo said...

It's also fun to read these low-tech messages after they've been in a dark file folder for more than 60 years. I challenge anyone to do that with similar messages that were saved into computer files even 30 years ago!