Novwember 16, 1960
When he woke up again it was daylight and there was more traffic on the road.
"We're coming into the edges of LA, Brian. Is that good for you?"
Brian didn't know where in California Green's Point was but he thought that LA, Hollywood, would be an appropriate place to start. "Yeah, I think so."
Bob pulled the car over. Brian opened the door and slid halfway out of the seat. He looked behind him. Fluffy picked his head up, the two boys were watching him, Bob and Mary Lou were smiling.
"I am really grateful to you for bringing me all this way, Bob. I know it's been hard on you, but I'm very thankful. I hope you have good luck in Oregon and a happy life from now on, all of you. No more being afraid."
"Thank you" said Mary Lou. "Well now, you have good luck and happiness yourself."
"Thank you, I'll try." He closed the door and stepped back. The car drove off. He was sorry to see it go.
Bran would never see those people again but for the rest of his life he would wonder how they made out in Oregon.
After watching their car disappear up the highway, Brian walked down the ramp into a neighborhood of palm trees and warm air. The morning sun was bright and he was feeling good. He soon found out that he was in Pasadena. He knew of the Pasadena Playhouse. It was famous. Brian hoped that maybe someday he would work there.
After an hour or so of walking along, a tanned young man in a Cadillac convertible with the top down swung briskly over to Brian and stopped. "Hey. Where'r ya goin?" the driver said.
"I'm not sure" answered Brian. "It's Green Park."
"Green's Park. "It's near the beach. Hop in. I'll take you to Santa Monica. It's not far from there."
Brian got in and the car swerved back onto the road and whizzed off. The air felt good going through Brian's hair. He looked with great interest at what they were passing. There were palm trees, eucalyptus trees, vines dripping down from second story balconies. There was an eclectic array of buildings. There didn't seem to be any identifiable style to Los Angeles, thought Brian, but everything seemed bright and friendly.
When they reached Santa Monica the driver pulled into a gas station to fill up and said "You're almost there. You can make it from here in no time."
"Okay. Thanks." Brian got out of the car. After the driver filled up the tank he drove off in another direction. Brian went to a pay phone, fished the number for Bob's parents out of his pack and dialed it.
"Hi, this is Brian Sims....Yes...Yes I am....I'm in Santa Monica....I'm in a Mobil station....It's across the street from some place called Albert's....You do?...Okay, Great." He hung up.
About five minutes later a car drove up and swung over to him. Inside was a middle aged man who asked "Are you Brian?"
"I'm Bob's father. Get in."
Brian got in and in another few minutes they drove into a driveway next to a very nice house on a hill overlooking the sea.
The were met at the door by a very nice looking woman, about 40, with a big smile on her face. "Hello Brian. Welcome."
She ushered Brian down a hall to a bedroom and said "I've laid out some of Bob's clothes for you. Take a shower and then bring me your dirty clothes. You smell awful." She grinned a big grin and left, closing the door.
On the bed were underwear, a shirt, some trousers and a bathrobe. He got undressed and realized that he hadn't had his clothes off since somewhere near Cleveland. He didn't want to get out of the shower it felt so good to get clean at last.
When he finally got dressed he took his bundle of clothes out to Bob's mom. "Good" she said. "Now go join Kevin on the veranda." He did so, where a drink was awaiting him.
As Brian sat down he thought to himself, 14 days ago, two weeks ago, I was on the back of a motorcycle in Massachusetts. And now I'm sitting in fresh clothes on a comfortable chair with a gin and tonic in one hand, a cigarette in the other, staring out in the afternoon sun at the beautiful Pacific Ocean in California.
Over dinner he told them about his trip: Chuck and the motorcycle ride, sleeping on the floor of the gas station in Worcester, the bike shop in Buffalo, the spill they took in Erie, visiting the college campus, unexpectedly finding friends in Cleveland, falling asleep on some boxes and waking up in the back yard, the long trek through the lightening and freezing rain in Ohio, Zack and the truck, crossing the Mississippi River, Linda, the Good Witch of the North, the long walk through Kansas, sleeping on a mattress in the basement, the jail in Oklahoma, the Louisiana state trooper with the daughter in Las Vegas, the Cherokee in the pick up truck, the rattlesnake in Yucca, and finally the renegade family on their way to Oregon fleeing an abusive husband and father back east. He left out the references to Chili Pepper, Della and Sabrina.
"Oh, I just remembered. You got a letter" said Bob's mother.
"A letter?" asked Brian, surprised.
"Yes. I'll get it."
She returned with a letter addressed to Brian Sims c/o Kevin Schultz. He looked for a return address and all it said was DL.
"May I?" he asked.
"Of course" said Kevin.
He opened the letter and read: Dear Brian, when I got your postcard I asked Tasha to find out from Chuck where Bob's parents lived. So I'm writing this to find out if you made it through okay and if you're settled in wherever you are. We miss you. I miss you. Be careful, I may come and visit. Della.
"Someone you know?" asked Mrs. Schultz,
"A nice girl I met in Cleveland. She tracked me down. She got your address from Bob. When I get settled I'll send her my address so this won't happen again."
"Oh, we don't mind, dear" said Mrs. Schultz. "Please keep in touch with us and come for Thanksgiving if you can. Bob said he would fly down for a few days. You two can conspire" she said with a big grin.
Brian slept very well that night.
To be continued.