Still Crossing the Long, Hot Desert

Journal: July 13, 1953
It was now three or four in the morning. I was dozing in the trailer when Roland finally returned with a used shackle. He had found a junk yard where he could wake up the owner, who lived onsite. He immediately jacked up the trailer high enough so he could work on the shackle. It didn’t take him very long to install the new one. Then he added new lugs on both wheels. Now we were ready to go. It was 6 am. What to do? Should we just go stay in a motel during the hot July day or should we press on? We decided to press on. Roland hooked up the trailer to the car.

By now the children were awake. We had breakfast, loaded everyone back in the station wagon and took off. It was cool in the early morning but by late morning it was getting very warm. By the time we reached Yuma it was hot! As we were driving past motels we noticed a swimming pool beside one. Several people were swimming. We pulled into the parking lot. I asked the owner if we could swim. He saw the children and said “Yes, have a swim.”

We donned our bathing suits and jumped into the pool. Roland stayed with Lesley and I held Sandy while we dipped and cooled for about a half and hour. Then we thanked the motel owner, offered to pay, but he refused. We climbed back in the car, leaving on our bathing suits to try to stay cool in the 100+ degree heat.

We drove all day across the baking desert, stopping only for lunch and supper, . It was late and the children were asleep when we finally reaching Gila Bend in Arizona. By now, Roland was exhausted. It was dark and cooler. We took a back road toward Phoenix. Away out in the country we saw a deserted, and empty motel off the road. Roland pulled into the long driveway which ran behind the empty building. We parked back there so Roland could sleep. We carried the sleeping children back to their beds in the trailer. Roland lay down in the car and fell asleep immediately. I rested in the back of the car.

For maybe an hour or two all was quiet. Not much traffic on the road. Suddenly along came a car full of young, rough looking men. They pulled into the driveway and headed for our spot behind the motel. I jumped out of the car and headed for the trailer. I was halfway there when the car pulled up beside me. Two of the men got out of their car. They shone a flashlight on me, playing it up and down. I froze. I still had on my bathing suit. Roland was still asleep. I was terrified. I pictured rape, robbery and even murder. There were no other buildings or houses anywhere around. After what seemed like forever, with the men staring at me by flashlight, in the dark, saying nothing, they got back in their car and took off.

I was afraid they would be back so I woke up Roland and we drove on until we reached Glendale and drove into Uncle Edwin’s yard in the wee hours after midnight. He turned on his lights and greeted us in his pajamas. We were soooo happy to see him!

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