Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Go Up to Yonkers & Turn Left

When Grandpa Locker, my Dad’s Dad got out of the Navy, he was discharged in New York City (this was probably about 1927).  The Navy gave him enough money to get him back home to Dayton, but he was young and footloose and decided to see the sights and sound of the "Big Apple" for a while before returning.

Grandpa in about 1980

Well he ran out of money fairly soon (the Navy home transport stipend was only enough for the cheapest method of travel – bus).  He picked up a little money doing some odd jobs, but after a few weeks he’d seen enough of New York and was ready to head for Dayton.

He planned to hitchhike, since he'd spent his transportation funds, but he really wasn’t sure how to get to Dayton.  He and a friend went to the Public Library to look at some maps and plan a route.

After they’d looked over the maps, his friend turned to him and said, “Well it looks like you go up to Yonkers and turn left.”

That was all the directions Grandpa needed.  Off he went.

On the way back he made one detour -- he's always wanted to see Niagara Falls.  His ride wasn't actually going to the falls, so he was dropped off a few miles away and he began to walk.  As he got closer to his destination he began to suspect that something was wrong with his hearing.  There was a buzzing or roaring noise that wouldn't seem to go away.  He wondered if it was a problem caused by the loud noises he'd been exposed to in the Navy.

Tom, John, Nina & James
Niagara Falls 2009
The roaring keep getting louder as he walked.  The thought came into his mind that the noise was coming from the falls, but he dismissed that as he was still a long way away and he couldn't believe that the mere sound of water going over a cliff could be that loud so far away.

Of course, Granddad had never seen anything like Niagara Falls -- the noise he'd heard so far away was inded the "mere sound of water going over a cliff."

He viewed the sights only for a few minutes before he stumbled across someone heading to Ohio.  A few days later he was back on Air Street.

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