The following was written by my late wife Elaine. She wrote a long book, a diary really, from which this is one passage:
Illegal Turns on the Pennsylvania Turnpike
We visited our parents in Detroit as often as we could, although it was hard with a growing family in my folks’ very small house; we usually “camped out” in sleeping bags on their living room floor. It was an eight-hour trip, and in the earliest days Dave and I liked to drive all night so the children could sleep in the car on the way, and being young then, we were okay the next day. Sometimes we had to wait at the beginning of tunnels along the Ohio turnpike and Pennsylvania turnpike because they always cleaned the tunnels (fumes build up) at night.
Anyway, one of our trips was taken in the daytime when Dave and I were driving smaller cars. We went to Michigan in two cars (it’s really hard to follow someone for that distance, without cell phones or CBs or any other way to talk back and forth). Along the way, I stopped with the girls at one of the turnpike plaza restrooms.
It’s hard to be so stupid, but … I left my purse hanging by its handles on the back of the bathroom door; it held all our trip money ($100). Off we drove, and it suddenly dawned on me that my purse was back at the rest stop and I got a little panicky and impulsively made an illegal U-turn across the whole median onto the other side. Then a few miles later I had to make a second illegal U-turn back in the other direction across the median, in order to get to the plaza where I had left the purse, hoping it was still there.
Well, in those days, each bathroom at the plazas had an attendant, and the attendant had kept my purse for me; someone had turned it in! And all the money was still in it. I gave the attendant $5 which probably was more generous then than it is now.
What a relief. One hundred dollars was a lot of money then, and we would have had to save up to get that much. If one of the many police patrolling the turnpike had seen me, it would have cost me more than $100 for each illegal U-turn. I don’t remember how long Dave had to wait on the shoulder of the highway until I was able to catch up with him after this delay to get the purse, but as soon as he noticed I wasn’t behind him following, he pulled over and waited.
To be continued…
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is a nonagenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.
Photos: Courtesy of the Blakeslee Family