It was early winter in 1943, and Chub had completed boot camp in the Coast
Guard. The officer who was to assign him to the next stage asked what he would
like to study. Chub replied, “Anything mechanical.” The officer blurted out,
“What would a dairyman know about anything mechanical?” He soon learned that
dairymen know more than how to milk a cow, and Chub was assigned to a night
diesel school in New York City, studying engines used on landing craft.
During my Christmas break from teaching, I rode a Greyhound bus from Columbia
to New York City -- a 36-hour ride each way. I took goodies, gifts and a tiny
artificial Christmas tree to decorate our hotel room. The fellows had two
hours free each afternoon, and some of us wives rode the subway with our
husbands each evening as they went across town to their classes. No one else
wanted to go to Niagara Falls, so I planned a solo Greyhound trip, leaving
early in the morning. I’d take the guided tour from Buffalo, N.Y., to the
falls and would sleep on the bus on the way back.
Soon after we started, rain turned to ice. Several cars and trucks were in
ditches, but we arrived safely in Buffalo. However, fog had moved in causing
the cancellation of all tours to the falls. I spent most of the day loafing in
the dime store, drinking nickel chocolate cokes and eating cheap sandwiches.
And I did sleep all the way back to New York City.
Chub consoled me, saying, “Don’t worry. We’ll make that trip together, some
day.” That day came three years later when we lived at Winthrop, Mass. The
war ended, and men were to be discharged on a point system based on length of
service, age, marital status, service outside the country, etc. Men with 44
points would be discharged first, and Chub had 441/2! We celebrated by
planning a trip to Niagara Falls for the weekend.
The banks were closed on Saturdays and we were short of money, so our landlord
agreed to cash a $35 check on our Columbia bank. We bought round-trip train
tickets from Boston to Buffalo. We carried no luggage, just my purse and his
billfold, neither of which was gorged with money. We arrived in Buffalo at two
in the morning, and our only choice was to take a cab downtown to the Statler
The next day we saw the falls, walked across into Canada, etc., but we
couldn’t do any extra things that took money because the hotel had cost so
much. Returning to Boston, we took the subway to where we would transfer to a
local bus to Winthrop and we’d then be in walking distance of our apartment.
The bus didn’t come on time. The next one didn’t either!
Finally a taxi rolled up, and the driver opened the door for us to get in.
“We’ll be taking the bus,” we said. He replied, “No, you won’t. Bus drivers
are on strike.” We counted our money: 75 cents! Not enough to get us within
walking distance of home. When we explained our predicament the fellow took us
to our door for the 75 cents! The next problem was that we didn’t have money
for groceries so we ate cheese and peanut butter with crackers and went to the
bank early the next day.