"AFTER WORDS"

By turning back to Chapter 28 you will see how we hoped to make our fortunes in something besides selling shoestrings. Each of us bought 200 shares of gold stock from a Mr. Wilburn with whom we rode. Two years later word reached us that our gold stock had doubled in value. Ten years after that, it was worthless. At least we doubled our store of wisdom about how not to "get rich quick. "

Of the two hundred young ladies we met on our trip, one became Francis's wife. Remember the Gibson sisters we met above Arcata, California when we caught our first view of the Pacific Ocean? (see Chapter 17). One of those sisters was Helen. For five years after that meeting we corresponded, once I visited her in California and later she came to Michigan to visit me. We were married May 1, 1928 and are now looking forward to out 60th wedding anniversary.
In the month following our wedding, Winfield married a University of Michigan student, Grace Song, a medical doctor who was studying for an additional degree as a Doctor of Public Health. They also will soon celebrate their 60th anniversary.

Thirty-five years after our chilling adventures in the Oregon floods, I was with my wife Helen near Salem, and tried to hunt up the old Antrican home (see Chapter 16). We found it. The elder Antricans were dead but a relative lived there. "Jenny? Oh, she's married," was the answer to our query. "She lives just a mile or so up the road . " We found the house, and knocked. An attractive woman came to the door, took one look at me and exclaimed, "Why, Francis Line!" We had a fine visit and were delighted to find she and her husband were happy in their work as vegetable farmers. But what a memory!

In my profession of presenting film lectures throughout America I was overwhelmed and delighted, one night at a San Francisco Forum showing in the Opera House, to have a man and woman come backstage afterwards to meet me. They were the Latheys who had picked us up on two different occasions and had sent gifts to us in Burke (see Chapters 11 and 20).
Just before one of my film lectures at the University of Washington in Seattle, two young men came backstage to see me. "Did you once live in Burke, Idaho?" they asked. "Yes, indeed, I did."
"We knew it," they both exclaimed. "We saw your picture in the paper. We are two of the boys in that club you and Winfield formed" (see Chapter 14).
They had graduated from the University and held responsible jobs at the Boeing plant. When I gave a film program in Seattle two years later, I met them again, along with their wives. Since the first meeting, they had both gotten married. There was a joyful reunion.

In 1942, while making a film about America, I returned to Wallace, Idaho to get permission to take motion pictures in the mines. As I passed the employment office I felt sure I recognized the man behind the desk. "Aren't you the King?" I asked (see Chapter 11). After explaining who I was he reached into his files and read from a card: "Francis R. Line. Mucker. Has had farm experience. Referenced: Franklin Andersen, Howell, Mich."
"How old were you?" the King asked. "It says you were twenty-one, but you know—I think you were stretching it a little. Young applicants often do."
He showed me the card. My weight read 140. Was I that heavy then? Or had I stretched that a little too.
The King had been hiring miners for forty years. Over 40,000 of them. He was still doing his job at age seventy-five.

My profession as a travel film lecturer took me back many times to most of the large cities which Winfield and I had visited as hikers. Every year I presented films at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, and at five other auditoriums in the area. Contrary to our first impressions of the city (see Chapter 28) I learned to love it, more especially so after it became the home of Helen's and my first great grandson.

Our return home found dozens of letters, which later swelled to a hundred or more, from the new friends our trip had brought us. Warm greetings came from the Mayor of Stuart, Florida (Chapter 35). There was a fine friendly letter from Hal Ayres, general manager of the Acme Ice Cream Company of San Francisco (Chapter
19). Mrs. Fleming, wife of the man whose 600 mile ride carried us into Jacksonville, Florida ended a two page letter to us with a compliment: "Mr. Fleming was 'all shot to pieces' from his hard trip over here from New Orleans—would never have made it if it hadn't been for you boys" (see Chapter 34).

A confession needs to be made. Due partly to the exigencies of our strange mode of travel, and perhaps partly to lack of adult advice on the subject, both of us developed atrocious eating habits on this trip, with regard to lack of regularity, quantities consumed, and the healthfulness of what we ate. Too much sugar, too much fudge, too much white bread in great quantities. Too few balanced meals. Too much or too little of most everything. Fortunately, strenuous daily exercise helped offset poor eating habits. And fortunately, also, Winfield married a Doctor of Public Health and an M.D. My future wife specialized in nutrition in college. Both of them taught us how to make proper eating an important aspect of good health, which had enabled us, along with other things, to endure well into the eighties. That word "well" can be emphasized.

When Winfield and I journeyed through the Golden State in 1923, California had a population of three million; now it has twenty-three million. San Diego was 75,000; today it is 875,000.
Miami, Florida was a pleasant little city of 27,500; now it is 350,000. Phoenix, Arizona had gone from a similar pleasant little city of 29,500 to a fender-bending metropolis of three quarters of a million. Dallas, Texas had burgeoned from 150,000 in 1923 to 1,150,000. Houston's growth has been similar.
The United States as a whole has more than doubled its population. She has grown from 103 million to 216 million. With the scarcity of people when we made our trip, no wonder we sometimes had trouble getting rides.

The journey taken in our teens influenced our entire lives. Years later my daughter and I composed a poem about America, mentioning many of the cities and towns with interesting and exotic names that Win and I had visited, or had become familiar with on our dining room wall map.
LET'S VISIT UNCLE SAM
by Francis & Adrienne Line

Oh Lass, at last it's Friday.
Let's out upon the highway.
For traveling is my way
To know my Uncle Sam.

We'll visit Winnepesaukee, Wauwatosa,
Winnemucca, Tuscalusa,
Walla Walla, Sleepy Hollow,
Denver and The Dalles.
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
Minnewaukan, North Dakota,
Live Oak, Lone Oak,
Holyoke, Roanoke,
La Jara and La Salle.

Every tin can tourist
Knows where America's lure is.
The way to travel sure is
The road to Uncle Sam.

We'll visit Ypsilanti, Attleboro,
Passamaquoddy, Brattleboro,
Yorba Linda, Susquehanna,
Dallas and Detroit.
Manafalia, Alabama,
St. Ignatius, Montana,
Kansas City, Oil City,
Cedar City, Sioux City,
Mobile and Massasoit.

As we wander we will tally,
Every hamlet, every valley.
Our guide is Rand McNally
As we visit Uncle Sam.
LET'S VISIT UNCLE SAM
by Francis & Adrienne Line

Oh Lass, at last it's Friday.
Let's out upon the highway.
For traveling is my way
To know my Uncle Sam.

We'll visit Winnepesaukee, Wauwatosa,
Winnemucca, Tuscalusa,
Walla Walla, Sleepy Hollow,
Denver and The Dalles.
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
Minnewaukan, North Dakota,
Live Oak, Lone Oak,
Holyoke, Roanoke,
La Jara and La Salle.

Every tin can tourist
Knows where America's lure is.
The way to travel sure is
The road to Uncle Sam.

We'll visit Ypsilanti, Attleboro,
Passamaquoddy, Brattleboro,
Yorba Linda, Susquehanna,
Dallas and Detroit.
Manafalia, Alabama,
St. Ignatius, Montana,
Kansas City, Oil City,
Cedar City, Sioux City,
Mobile and Massasoit.

As we wander we will tally,
Every hamlet, every valley.
Our guide is Rand McNally
As we visit Uncle Sam.
We'll visit Carrizozo, Alamosa,
Cucamonga, Santa Rosa,
Tallahassee, Shiawassee,
Dayton and Duluth.
Silver Bow in old Montana,
Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
Sweetwater, Badwater,
Muddy Water, Coldwater,
Lily, May, and Ruth.

My feet are itching, Madam,
As though the gremlins had 'em.
It's the call of the macadam,
Let's flirt with Uncle Sam.

We'll visit Eagle Rock, Slippery Rock
Little Rock, Castle Rock,
Pebble Beach and Boulder.
Long Beach, Clam Beach,
Miami Beach, Pismo Beach,
Wecoma Beach and Dover.

America is my way.
For me it is a high day
When we can take the highway
That leads to Uncle Sam.

Thank our stars that you and I may
Follow every path and every by-way
Weedy Road or Lincoln Highway
That leads to Uncle Sam.

The place-names used in this verse were included largely because they were unusual. But every city and town and hamlet—every farm and ranch—in the USA might well be included, because each one is unusual and unique—a bit of the fabric of America, which makes up its life and lore.