In the summer of 1928 my grandfather — my mom’s dad, Lawrence Keith Garwood — was 19 years old, and head-over-heels in love. In July of that year he set out from his home in Toronto on a hitchhiking trip with his friend, Welburn, to New York City. He chronicled his trip in a notebook in the form of an extended love letter to my nana-to-be.

Here’s the first installment; the bootleggers come later…

Sunday, July 15th, 1928

I’m lying on a decently comfortable bed in the Belleville Y.M.C.A. — and it’s just about 11 o’clock — so you know!

Our first lift was at Blantyre Avenue and between there and here we have walked just about 2 of the 115 miles distance — not so bad eh? 6 different lifts brought us all the way. The weather was OK up till the time we reached Bowmanville — there it poured buckets for nearly half an hour; afterwards a beautiful rainbow arched itself across the sky. We are keeping a note of all the cars that pick us up. I left my diary at home — so I am using an ordinary notebook — I’ll transfer my doings to our book when I get home.

If all things are favourable we’ll try for New York and get a peek at the great metropolis.

However, I shall let you know every night what has happened through the day. I’ll be sending back the odd card also — to Bets of course!

Welburn and I could not get a double room so we’re using a single each. We have just come back from having a little tea and toast at a small Chinese café — about the only place open.

And now I must tuck myself in bed, dear one — and to sleep amid the gentle snores which are occasionally drifting to my ears through the transom over the door.

Good night! Sweetheart!

Next installment

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