Bound for Milwaukee – 1967
Chris didn’t know it, but the next decade would be one of intolerance and some growing pains. They lived in the same old neighborhood, both Jerry Hines and Chris Wright, just two blocks west and one block down Jackson Street from each other; this was Jerry and Betty’s home, just a hop-hop-and-hop that could tell each other’s abode. Across the street from Jerry’s house was the Oakland Cemetery. Chris was twenty and Jerry twenty-nine at the time. Jerry, who was several years older than Chris Wright, was available and usable in the sense of travel, something that was stronger than almost anything else in his life for some peculiar reason, something that would stay with him his entire life in a way. very variable; And so, in the summer of 1967, Jerry had a tough fight with his girlfriend Betty. Having told Chris about this, they both decided to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And this is where the story begins.
–Chris had a 1960 Plymouth-Valiant [white], it didn’t work that well, but they, he and Jerry thought it would make it to Milwaukee, so in the middle of the volcano-hot summer of ’67, they loaded up their car, when Betty was gone [Betty being his live-in girlfriend at the time]They each grabbed whatever money they had, Chris had about $ 125.00 and Jerry about $ 250, and they left.
As the miles went by on the way to Milwaukee, one after another, they continued to drink beer cans, smoke cigarettes, chain smoke for the most part, as the Valiant cruised the black asphalt interstate. [s], make stops along the road to go to the bathroom, buy more beer at the nearest gas station or road stop, drink more beer, make more stops to take a break – a kind of circular motion towards these events in progress. In fact, they were making so many stops that they both got tired of stopping and started pissing in cans, and whoever was not driving threw the cans out the window into the fields along the highway; sometimes only barley cars are missing if a good high wind takes over them. It was party time all the time, and for the most part, all the time for both of us.
Now, with loose conversations, the heat coming through the windshield, the breeze hitting their hands as they went out the window down the road, a bird was no more free. They lit cigarette after cigarette, talked, laughed, drank and sang. They didn’t plan much, but enough, just enough, but enough, their plan was: sleep in the car until they find an apartment, then get a job and stay in Milwaukee for a few minutes. months, then they could decide what to do next, not a grand plan or even an elaborate one in any way, but then the world and life were just for them, and again I say, at least they had a hint of plan, like a slice of A piece of cake. Their search, their goal, if you can call it that, was friendly, that’s what they would do, and just friendly is what they were doing. The responsibilities or demands of life were irrelevant, if not cumbersome, and if you ever got caught in a vortex of distance, Jerry was, had enough for the time of everything in life, yes, in a way he was on the run. , like Chris. not. Chris was simply running to escape from a city he saw too much, he got the mistake of traveling early in life; he was running to run. No one really knew where they were going to end up, at the end of it all to be exact, and no one thought about it further beyond the planning he had already explained: Chris again, he was simply available, usable, as well as willing, and had a fiery desire to see how far he could go, travel and the further the better.
[The beginning of fall] It was a cold night, as black as dark ink, the moon had a quarter light, and if there were ghosts, it seemed that they were running back and forth through the moonlight with a grayish blanket of mist. . It was a little after midnight when they caught a glimpse of the road sign that said:
“Milwaukee to the right, ‘… 2 mile detour”‘, and Jerry, who was driving, did exactly that, he took the detour where the arrow was pointing, so we were one way leading us straight to downtown the city of Milwaukee. Chris’s face shone with an undeniable emotion, it was as if he was being reborn, his blood was regenerating, there was no logic or reason for it, it was a rush: a full desire, a butt longing, like an empty cigarette. restocking packages, akin to getting drunk, a high destination, a search, all that and more – except for the fact that the boredom of driving helped turn the moment into a rage of excitement.
“Wow, I can see the city,” he said anxiously that he wasn’t there right then. Jerry gave Chris a more mature laugh at the fact that they had made it. Specifically, getting to the city limits your destination.
“Wait, we’ll be there in a moment,” Jerry said, turning the steering wheel a little to the left, as he turned towards the entrance of the city: then straightening them to go straight ahead that was not seen. lights appearing in the distance, an illumination of dotted lights. They both smiled, they had almost or almost reached their destination, it was getting closer every second. Right down and around a bridge or two now.
The only thing they did not take into account was the times: it was the 1960s, and neither Chris nor Jerry could save, or even conceive, the black and white dilemma that plagued the country; for the most part, they were isolated from her. Oh yeah, it was on TV all the time, but until you’re in the whale’s mouth, one can never conceive of the depth of the situation, or should I say, the depth of the whale’s stomach. There was some damage to cafes, shops, and tenant buildings in the black areas of the city of St. Paul, but not much, not compared to the rest of the country. In those days, every city had its riots, its racial problems. It was like a plague; but St. Paul, being the conservative city of the Midwest, the City of Culture as it has been called, was almost naive. They also lived in a neighborhood that didn’t read a lot of books or newspapers or watch the news, it wasn’t a big problem for them or them, only a black family lived in the neighborhood somewhere, no one didn’t even know when he had moved, but a few years ago it might be suitable: the black man had befriended Chris’s grandfather and was therefore left alone. But no one saw a black man in the neighborhood before this, much less deal with riots.
No one came to the Cayuga Street area – or walked through the area for no good reason, unless they lived there; because there was a gang of about twenty-two boys and girls that hung around the steps of the church. It wasn’t called Donkeyland for nothing; because at one point it was the highest crime related area in St. Paul, and they bragged about it, and the police even tried to avoid them [them being, the whole area–the gang of sorts]; in fact, they dubbed it Donkeyland because there were so many headstrong there: and yes, it suited them. They beat the police if they were chased to Indians Hill, which was in the center of Cayuga Street, right next to Chris’s house. But as I was about to say,
As they made their way down the turnoff and into the city center, a huge white car was following them. Chris first noticed it, a jingle after they entered the outer edge of the center.
“Is something wrong Chris?” Jerry said, eyes sleepy, as he drove.
Chris turned around for the third time to examine the white car, again saw that the car was following them … then suddenly Chris said with a voice of crisis, a trembling voice, a decadence on his face:
“Oh shit, look, look what they just pushed out of the fucking car window, the white car – there …” almost next to them now “… look – Jj-Jerry, a fucking shotgun .. .. “
Jerry looked quickly, “What’s going on?”
Then, through another window of the car, a voice was heard from a loudspeaker coming directly from the white car, however, you could not make out what exactly was being said, so they continued, Jerry driving closer to the center of the center of the town. area now, looking at a gathering of people in two different corners – in an area of four or five square blocks; if anything, it looked like a protest, if not a combat zone; The voice over the speaker now, said undoubtedly.[even louder than before]:
“Get out of the city area, immediately, or we will shoot!”
Chris looked at Jerry, “Where’s the exit? Chris,” Jerry asked. [the word shoot sticking in both their minds like a spider to a fly caught in a web,
“To the right, to the right, over there man…” Chris pointing toward a half lit up bridge: without hesitation, and responsive to his tone of voice, Jerry immediately turned the car southwest, and out they went as fast as that six-cylinder car would go.
In short, both Jerry and Chris’ tempermentaity was shock, disbelief, and spellbound, but somehow they must had caught a sign that said, Madison, Wisconsin, for that is where they headed; and sometime down the highway they had stopped to check the map, and talk about Madison to see if both agreed of the new destination, prior to this stop it would seem they were both ill-balanced.
When they both arrived in Madison, not being able to find a job, they both would end up in Omaha, Nebraska, whereupon, just across the boarder was Counsel Bluffs, where Chris would find a job working for Howard Johnson’s as a dishwasher, and three weeks later Jerry’s girlfriend would show up, and that would be the end of the adventure. She’d stay until the end of the month, and they’d all return back together to Minnesota. It was for Chris the first of many adventures–antiquarian pursuits, and the first real racial confrontation.
What will we all do?
The Black man,
The White man
The Arab, the Jew:
Fool, and you–.
All tossed together
[Like a load of old shoes],
Waiting to go through:
Through those cigars
Waiting for new souls?
What will we all do?
Because it seems [does it not?],
That is the only place:
We all want to go too.