Jersey Journal/1930/Westward Bound, Part I

Westward Bound, Part I  (1930) 

The first installment of the short story, Westward Bound, by Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) published in The Jersey Journal on January 4, 1930.

Westward Bound, Part I
By Naida Freudenberg
9 Claremont Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey.

It seemed longer although it was only yesterday that Betty was back in Jersey City. On a clear, crisp, Autumn day she was wending her way, by auto, through the hills of Pennsylvania with Mr. and Mrs. Harding and their daughter, Sally. The two girls were, with the exception of a few months, the same age, fourteen. How well Betty could remember how she had scrambled up the stairs, back home, thinking she would never reach the top, to tell her mother, mLat seemed to her the most wonderful news in the world. Mr. Harding had to go to Chicago, on a business trip and thought it a good idea to take his wife and Sally with him. Knowing it would be lonesome for a girl of Sally's age. he had asked Betty to join them. Of course Betty's mother had consented not only because she wanted her daughter to have the opportunity of traveling and seeing the country, but Betty's grandmother lived on a farm at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The open touring car was rapidly speeding ahead, with Mr. and Mrs. Harding in the front seat and the two girls in back, surrounded by baggage. They had left Jersey City, two o'clock on Saturday afternoon and now, after having spent the night at Allentown, and the time being eleven thirty, they were anxious for a bite to eat. Soon Mrs. Harding said to her husband, "John, let's stop at the next stand, where there are benches and tables to have lunch. "Lucy, you certainly have wonderful ideas." said her husband, and Mrs. Harding smiled. The outdoor traveling certainly made John agreeable. The four of them hopped out of the machine and immediately sat down. Mrs. Harding had made sandwiches and they bought milk. Then Mr. Harding spoke up. "I'm afraid we will have to be on our way. I'm due in Chicago, Thursday." Sally and Betty each bought a bar of chocolate candy, which they put in their pockets, intending to eat it on the trip, when they were hungry. Then they were off again. With such interesting things happening the candy was soon forgotten. For instance. there were so many bumps in the road that one of the bags popped right out of the car. "Mr. Harding my suitcase flew out." Betty said, while Sally laughed heartily. The car was brought to a halt and Mr. Harding went back to get it. The two girls watched out the window in the back of the car, but there was not a sign of the bag. "I guess a car picked it up," Mr. Harding said. "John, don't be foolish, you know that we haven't seen a car for at least fifteen minutes." Then Mr. Harding's face brightened. "I've got it!" "Why John, what are you talking about," said his wife anxiously, then as he made no attempt to answer. "John Harding, what are you talking about?" The girls watched Mr. Harding go around to the side of the car. "Here is the lost bag," he said. "lying right on the mudguard. Every-one laughed. They did not forget this incident, even though many more and interesting things happened. "I think we'll have dinner at the next farmhouse and get up real early tomorrow." "John. do you realize what you are saying? I can't understand a word. There isn't any sense to what you just said." "Oh!" her husband apologize? "I thought we were in Chicago." The next farmhouse soon came to view. They ate their dinner, went to bed and got up early. Doing just what Mr. Harding had intended they should, though, from what he said you would never have known that, that was what he meant. The next day something happened that made an entire difference in their trip. They had been driving along a very narrow road when Mr. Harding said, "Can you beat that There's a hay wagon up ahead of us. The driver has it right in the middle of the road, how can I pass?" The automobile was constantly gathering speed and soon was directly in back of the slowly moving wagon. Mr. Harding blew his horn for the driver to pull over to one side. The man driving stopped and turned around. His wrinkled face, tanned by the outdoor life. broke into a broad grin. "Well where do you city folks be going in such a hurry?" All this while the two girls had been getting into mischief. They had secured a feather and were tickling Mary Harding's neck. She gave a loud laugh just as the farmer finished his quaint speech. The man thinking she had laughed at him grew indignant. "Well you city folks may have a good machine and may be in a hurry, but when somebody insults me I just pay it back to them in a different way. You are in a hurry? Well, be in one. I'll stay in the middle of the road and who's going to make me do different?" Mr. Harding was about to make an angry retort but his wife's gentle voice soon quieted him. "Don't be harsh John, for my sake Let's make the best of it." The two girls felt badly. They had only ones to have some fun, but what had seemed to be harmless mischief was evidently going to delay them. For half an hour the car followed the wagon and Mr. Harding was about out of patience when finally the wagon turned into a side read, and the farmer grinned maliciously, as we gathered up speed and shot out of sight (To be continued.)

Westward Bound, part I by Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) in the Jersey Journal on March 8, 1930.png