When thru he asked me get in if I was going his way and after about three miles had a blow out and half an hour delay in getting the metal rim inside the tire. It was then nearly dark and we rode until nine when he had to turnoff on a road leading down into Pencia. We went into a safe drink place where he ordered rolls, coffee, and pie for each of us and then left. This was at Addison, New York. A storm was coming up and it was very dark. saw a light up the road a little way and a barn across the road. Going up to the porch I asked if I could sleep in the barn but it was to dark to see the people but from their talk there were two men and a women the latter telling me they would not have anyone in the barn and could get shelter. she got up then and went into the house and one of the men said there was a place at the top of the hill where a man would take me in. Some distance up the hill I came to a barn along the road with dirt covered planking leading to the barn floor, the house and cattle stables being underneath and below the road. It had begun to rain and blow so I tried to get into the barn, but could not open the door and it was so dark could not see the stable part. I don’t know how I managed to get down the slope and under the driveway, stumbling over stones and brush but finally was under. It was an awful place, fairly clean nor the barn, but father away it was piled with brush and rubbage and all night rats were moving about in the brush. I felt safe from the rain at least but in half an hour it had seeped through the earth on the planks and was dripping and I had to move here and then to avoid it but finally it was dripping everywhere and the only escape was to stand closer to the barn wall and it was about four or five hours before the rain stopped. At the first glimmer of day light I was up on the road and glad to get away from the place and anxious for the sun to dry my clothes and take the chill out of my bones. The dirty water from above had also streaked my clothes but it came off after drying.
The morning was clear and I went along that day as far as Jasper and some distance beyond stopped at a farmer’s to ask for shelter. There were three children (from 4-7 girls and a boy) who met me and they were three of the finest and friendliest children I ever met. I asked for their Daddy and said I wanted to sleep in the barn – their mother was in the kitchen as the children took me to the barn and I asked for a night in the barn. After a little talk he said he could find a place in the house, so I went back to the porch with the children. Along the Virginia and Pennsylvania I did not see many papers but whenever I came across one would pick it up and carry them along until I had read every item in them hoping to find a clue as to myself and on this day I had several. I opened there on the porch and read the “funnies” to the children stories until bedtime. Had a find night – slept in a nice room and good breakfast after which I kissed the girls goodbye and shook hands with Neil and when he saw that was all he said, “You didn’t kiss me” and looked ready to cry and of course I kissed him, his remarks going clear to my heart – a beggar for my meals.
Since then I have been writing them letters, sending the funnies, Christmas and birthday presents and have had several letters from their mother and a photo of the three children. There is another boy now, George born last September. Their mother wrote me that while they received a lot of presents, she thought their greatest joy was opening the Christmas box from John and their delight over its contents. I went along with a good feeling all that morning five miles beyond Dansville took refuge in a barn out of the rain which came up suddenly and with it a cold wind.
The owner came in sometime after and talked to me for a couple of hours and later came back and took me to supper, said his wife was sick else he would give me a place in the house to sleep so he took me back to the barn and gave me a horse blanket to cover me but it was very cold all night as the wind swept thru the cracks in the old barn. Having cleaned towards morning I was off at daylight to get some warmth in sun by walking and by night was 50 miles east of Buffalo and had no trouble in getting into a barn for the night. By this time the soles of my shoes were as thin every little pebble hurt but I had not money left to have them soled. Meat with tobacco and crackers where I could not get any meals my $2.00 was gone. The following day was Sunday and by evening I was half a mile from East Pembroke when I saw a couple men putting a new top on an auto chassis, stopped to look at them and finally lent a hand where needed as the two could not handle it by themselves. When it was on they told me to come along and get some supper and said I could sleep in the barn. After dark I crawled into the hay and about 2 o’clock the young man came into milk the cows and this I had a streak of luck which was what I needed just then – he said his grandmother who owned the place could give em a couple days of work, if I wanted to work, a dollar a day and board but would need to sleep in the barn. Assured him I would for I wanted that $2.00 to sole my shoes. I stayed there the week doing all kinds of work, some almost too heavy but I stuck to it for the $6.00 looked big to me.
to be continued