In the first chapter (below) I had run away from home with my boyfriend Basil at the age of sixteen. He was nineteen. We set out hitchhiking across the states from Waterloo, Iowa to the present state of Batesville Missouri.
When we arrived in Batesville, Missouri, and went to the guy’s (driver) Mothers house. I don’t recall his name, but he was tall with short black hair, and I would guess was middle-aged. When we met his mother, she was so nice, we told her we had nowhere to go. She offered us to stay there for a couple of weeks. Grandma was short as well, about my height. She wore her long gray hair up in a bun. She was dressed in bell-bottom pants and a tie-dyed t-shirt. I remember thinking she looked cool. We told Rita’s grandmother we were married.
His daughter’s name was Rita, and she was 14 years old shorter than me four”10 with short brown hair and built like an eighteen-year-old. While she was fully developed, I on the other hand looked like a stick. She had a one-year-old boy baby boy. Rita and I hit it off well. Good, I had someone to talk to about how I was feeling. Grandma had taken Rita in when she became pregnant at the age of twelve. During those two weeks, Rita and I talked about the events leading up to our meeting. She knew I was a runaway and had no idea where we were going. I remember going to the laundromat with her a couple of times to wash clothes. Her mother had given me clothes that fit me, and I washed them along with Rita’s. We walked to the laundromat. Batesville was a small town, and everyone knew everyone there. Things were uneventful while there. We ate, watched television, and talked.
After about three weeks Basil decided it was time to hit the road again. While in my mind I was reluctant to leave this now familiar place it was time to move on. I wrote a letter to my friend Luanne the girl’s house I ran from and dropped it in the mail the day we left with no return address. So, there would be no trace of me. That was the only contact I’d had with anyone in the last two weeks. I made no phone calls and only wrote that one letter letting her know I was okay. Much later I found out my friend Luanne had given the letter to my dad. It was postmarked, Batesville Missouri. My dad and brother Bobby had come looking for me, but it was too late I had left there two days prior. Bobby was the second oldest in the family. He looked the most like dad I thought. They were both tall with black hair. He used to box Golden Gloves, so he was buff at the time. That’s why dad brought him along.
He was twenty at the time. They had found Rita’s house by asking around at the laundromat. As I said, it was a small town. The only one that knew I was running away from home was my brother Rory. I had confided in him before I left but I’m sure he didn’t think I would go through with it. But I did. Rory was short like me with short dirt blonde hair and never did anything wrong growing up, one year my senior. He was planning to go into the service once he turned eighteen. I had six brothers and two sisters all still at home except my sister Theresa, she got out while the getting was good. And my brother Bobby had moved out as well.
Rita’s Grandmother gave Basil fifty dollars and said that was all she could spare. We were rich. I left there feeling blessed and knowing I had made a lifelong friend. Back on the road again with thumbs out catching rides whenever we could with the hope that it didn’t rain. It was Springtime and we were heading deeper south towards Arkansas. Basil continued to sit in the middle when we caught a ride and kept his trusty buck knife handy. We caught short rides, and I was really starting to get weary. “Where are we going?” I asked Basil. “We are going to some relations of mine in Arkansas,” he replied. I was nervous once again being on the road and wishing I had stayed put at home not knowing what was coming around the next bend. While I kept thinking about everyone and missing my brothers and sisters I was still hell-bent I wasn’t going home to face the wrath of dad. I really hadn’t given too much thought to them worrying about me at the time. There was time, for that later.
To Be Continued.