My mother was a prodigious hitchhiker in the Seventies. I found this out in the Nineties when she went to college and for her Freshman Composition class wrote a personal essay about hitchhiking to Arkansas to pick me up from my Aunt Joyce’s house after one of the times my grandmother kidnapped me. She spent most of the trip with a guy who’d picked her up outside of Garnett. They camped out under a bridge somewhere near Oswego, smoking pot and talking about the meaning of life. When they arrived at my Aunt Joyce’s house in Fort Smith, he walked her to the door to provide a witness. My grandmother wouldn’t let him in. Explaining the significance of that trip in her essay, my mom defines that as the moment she determined to find a man who would help her raise me, and stand up to her mother.
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