Saturday, September 03, 2011

1977 … Hitching to North Carolina

In the summer of 1977 my 17 yr. old son and his friend were restless and looking for an adventure. They came to me with a plan and, after a lengthy discussion, I agreed.

They had decided to hitchhike from Dutchess County, New York to Pinehurst, North Carolina … a distance of approximately 750 miles. His Dad and younger brother were already there working on a small building project and this would be a complete surprise for them.

The boys were short on money but they insisted they’d be fine. I wondered if I was crazy to let them go as I watched them trek down the highway looking like Mutt and Jeff… my son being 6’3” and his friend barely 5’ 10”. With tears in my eyes and trepidation in my heart I drove home and waited for their call.

Of course I was a nervous wreck but that call did come 4 days later and they were fine. They’d completely surprised my husband and younger son and the plan was for them to stay for the next two weeks and then they’d all drive home together.

I remember being so happy that it was a tame adventure and that my fears were boundless … they were safe and sound. It would be years before they shared the actual facts of the trip !

No wonder they weren’t worried about money. They rarely had to spend any. They’d get a ride from one big city to another and always planned it so they'd get there late in the afternoon. Then they’d find the busiest hotel in the vicinity and pretend to be registered there. They’d swim in the pool, which cooled them off as well as acted as a shower and then they’d wander to the lobby and check out the billboards. There was always an eating event of one sort or another listed and they’d just wander in. I guess being young and nice looking didn’t hurt since they said they were never questioned. Isn’t that amazing?

Then, to add insult to injury, they’d take the elevator to the top floor and bed down on the roof !! One night it rained and they settled for the corridor. So the only expense they incurred was for food and I’ll bet they weren’t shy about “doggie bags” from those free dinners they attended either.

So, that’s the “rest of the story” and all I can say is thank goodness I wasn’t aware of it then. It still gives me chills when I think of the “what if’s”. That old adage Ignorance is bliss is surely true in my case.


Blogger kenju said...

Someday we'll have to have mr. k tell you about the cross country trip he and 3 buddies took after college. That will give you shills
Thank Heaven your boys were safe on their hitchhiking trip.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, were they clever. Wonder if you could get away with that today. The hitchhiking is the scariest part.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Very industrious young men, Ginnie. Glad they arrived safely and probably better you didn't learn the details until much later.

8:17 PM  
Blogger possum said...

The things we do and don't tell "Mom" for years. My cousins and I just told my Aunt Kay about some things we did when we were kids on the island in Maine, 50 some years ago.
She was upset 55 years after the fact, said if she still had her ping pong paddle, we'd know something! Funny, I remember her holding it in a threatening manner, but I don't think any of us ever got hit.

The boys were really very clever! Good for them!

7:30 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

It's always surprising when your children grow up and share some of the things of their childhood. It's probably good that we didn't know a thing about it at the time.

12:17 PM  
Blogger ellen said...

I think that they will remember that trip as long as they live, and with a huge smile on their faces.
My husband used to hitch hike a lot when he was young. Of course, that was back in the late 50's and early 60's when it was much safer.
Then there was Ellen in Hawaii who wasn't allowed to drive after dark, nor go to the drive in movies. Sigh.
Daddy was quite in charge!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

They were enterprising. Those were the days when one could hitchhike safely. These are different times now. Beside all the young people that I see have SUV's or big trucks.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Big John said...

Smart lads, but I bet that they wouldn't get away with it now.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

My daughter reminded me of the time we sent her to Toronto on the trasin when she was 12. Times have changed. Sadly, no one would permit their kids to do such things as we allowed these days.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

Ignorance really is bliss. How brave they were and they now have a wonderful memory. Sometimes you have to take a risk to have a reward. You did both. Dianne

10:31 AM  

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