On The Roads & Rivers
By Eddie-Rock- Jack Kerouac –Hunter
Above is a picture taken in Greenwich Village of Manhattan of Don L and Ron L. Don is on left with the red jacket and Ron is on the right, foreground, with the bald red head and light color shirt.
Above is Sam K and friend at the Seaside Heights Beach, New Jersey, in the wintertime.
In the Navy my immediate supervisor was 2nd class Personnelman Ron L.
Ron was from Minneapolis. He looked like his family might be from Sweden. He was tall, big boned, balled on top, with red hair on the side. I told him once I was trying to decide if he looked like a goldfish or Clarabelle.
Ron had a flair for Broadway musicals. In the barracks he would sing them. I told him he would sing better if he wore a Vikings helmet with either horns or wings and carried a spear.
Ron and I were not all that close. We ran with the same group and more or less tolerated each other.
That is why one year on my birthday, when all our friends were either on duty or home on leave he took me out to eat and drink, was surprising. To Ron it was the right thing to do. I thought it was noble too.
Ron was a stickler for office procedure. He used to constantly remind me to clean my typewriter keys.
Don L. was a co-worker in our Naval Information & Educational Office. We had a great rapport together. We had many little side jokes going on all the leaders… we had our personal way of imitating each leader, without giving away to someone else exactly who we were mocking. If one of us hummed the other one would know we were mocking Chief Fox. If one of us would breath heavily and quick and cackle to himself the other one knew instantly Chief Kobus was being lampooned. Well, I could go on.
Don and I both were released from active duty the summer of 1965. He in June and I in July.
Sam K. was the legal yeoman. He was in with all our gags and things. He was a running buddy with Ron, because they were cube mates and also because they were both from Minneapolis.
Sam K with friend on the empty beach of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, in the winter time.
After our Navy times Don, Sam, and I continued our friendship for about ten years afterward. They always dropped by and visited overnight on their trips to Florida and I made a few trips to Chicago and Minneapolis.
This is one of those trips experiences.
I bought a red 2-seaterTriumph Spitfire after I got out in 1965. I think it was September and October of 1965 or 1966 I drove to Chicago in it. At the time I was still living with my folks. Don was living with his family. The directions was very simple for a 800 + mile journey. We lived on Richard Street, which ended at the 41 Highway. I was to turn left on the 41 highway, drive north until I come to 72nd Street in Chicago, turn right, cross over ramp and continue until I came to S. Troy. Turn left on South Troy and it is the corner house. From Marietta to the inner city of Chicago: 4 turns.
Don and I hit his favorite neighborhood bars that evening that I arrived.
The next day we visited all the tourist spots in Windy City downtown and also the Chicago Tribune. He was a writer for the paper. I forgot if it was this visit or the next that we went to the Playboy Club there – I think it was the next time.
Here we went to Marina City. Marina City is the twin cylinder shape buildings overlooking the Chicago River. We toured their model apartment. It was shaped like a pie slice. Surprisingly some of the apartments, probably at undesirable levels or with undesirable views were within reason that even I could afford. Which, then, was probably less than $150 a month.
Above: Don and I at model apartment at Marina City.
The next morning we got into the Triumph and headed west towards Minneapolis.
We decided to go a non-expressway through Wisconsin. Once we entered Wisconsin we pulled over to a store and bought beer and cheese and spent the next hours consuming the beer and cheese “… when in Rome…”
We first drove through St. Paul, which is practically next door to Minneapolis. I felt that St Paul was an older and reserved city and Minneapolis was more modern and aggressive. We toured an old Catholic church just covered with paintings, holy statues, and whatever.
We drove over to Minneapolis and looked up Sam K’s residence. He was expecting us. He took us to a piano bar in a high-rise office building.
The next morning we drove to downtown Minneapolis. We looked up where Ron L. worked. Ron was an executive. We didn’t know that. His secretary, with her desk outside his office door said Mr. L. was in a meeting. Don is/was a nice looking guy who knew how to use his looks to be persuasive. He asked the secretary could we just go in and leave Ron a note.
She said, “Welllll, Okaaayyyy, just please don’t disturb anything.” So, nothing went undisturbed. We put little notes all over his personal office to be sure all his subordinates cleaned their typewriters. We drew cartoons all over a lot of paper stock and steno pads and other stuff I forgot.
I doubt if he got a kick out of it when he returned.
We went to a high point overlooking the Mississippi River. See? Why do people like to have their picture taken overlooking a river but overlooking a big lake is no big thing?
The next morning I remember it was October the 1st. When we got up it was snowing. My car wouldn’t start. Sam and Don pushed while I handled the gears to kick it off.
We drove back to Don’s house in Chicago. There I went in and used the bathroom then got back into the car to drive to Georgia. My car still would not stop. Don got his neighborhood friends together and pushed me off.
I drove straight without turning off the motor. I was drove for about 24 hours, including the segment from Minnesota to Chicago. I was exhausted but didn’t dare stop and turn off the motor. Someplace just north of Chattanooga, probably on the base of Lookout Moutain I pulled over at a scenic view which overlooked the Tennessee River and just got out and let the car idle while I stretched and used the bathroom.
Then on to the last leg of my journey. When I arrived home I slept for hours and hours.