These next few weeks, I will be recording the story of my grandfather (Bumpa) and his twin brother (Alton) as they traveled across the country during the Great Depression. The tales will not be in any chronological order. Bumpa never wrote any of this down, so I am relying on my mom’s memories of her dad telling about it. He didn’t start at the beginning, either. He’d simply say something like, “I remember when…”
(Bumpa is the one on the right)
Soon after the boys left home, it became apparent that it was harder for two to thumb a ride than just one person travelling alone. Often, they would pick a destination, get separate rides and then meet up at the planned spot. Never having been to those places before, it was amazing that they always found each other.
Bumpa and Alton arrived separately in Chicago. They planned to find a friend who had moved there from their little town in New York. Now, Chicago is huge and it was even in the 1930s. The boys were deposited in different places and both heard about a boxing exhibition being held that night. If there was anything that could draw them like bugs to light, it was boxing. So, unbeknownst to each other, they made their way to the same place. Neither had the money to get inside the building and see the fight, so they walked around, peeking in. That is how they found each other and that is how the neighborhood policeman found them too.
The police officer collared these two lurkers and asked them their business. They told him that besides listening to the fight from outside that they were in town looking for a friend. He asked them the name of their friend and they told him. Come to find out, the policeman lived two doors down from that family. He took them there himself and wished them a happy visit. What are the odds?
Time and time again serendipity stepped in and helped the twins along their way. Bumpa used to shake his head as he was telling these stories and say, “It is really just such a small world.”
I tend to think it is more likely that the prayers of their mother for their safety were being heard.