Dad enjoyed most of the people who managed to find their way into his life; however, one person he did not enjoy was his step-father. This man was a tyrant who was probably crazy for taking on a woman with five boys.
At any rate, after finishing eighth grade, Dad hopped a freight train and was off to see the country. He would always tell it as some sort of great adventure, but I can only imagine the hardships and tribulations of the open road.
At age fifteen, he finally managed to get to Arkansas where his biological father lived. I think Dad thought he would be welcomed with open arms, but while he was not thrilled, my grandfather managed to be cordial. One funny thing about my grandfather is that he had a unique way of ridding himself of unwanted gifts of food. He would graciously accept any offering from any of the women in the neighborhood, but if it was not to his liking, he would tell my dad to open the back door as he gave it “the through ticket.” In our family anything given “the through ticket” is something we dislike, particularly a food item.
Our grandfather may have been being cordial, but his wily mind was busy hatching up a plan to rid him of one fifteen year old boy. He finally convinced my dad to join the army. Yes, Dad was too young; however, if they were both ready to lie about his age, he could get in. A couple days before his sixteenth birthday, my dad signed up and was shipped out to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Second World War was about to break out and I only pray that my grandfather did not realize that when he was making plans for my dad.