Thursday, October 22, 2009


A few years ago, when I was a student at Beloit College, a friend prophesied about his future. John Ed said he would meet a waitress named Trixie at a rest stop and they would travel together in a vehicle he dubbed the Cancer Winnebago. My friend Sue and I thought the whole thing was funny but if you knew John Ed, it seemed possible. Sue and I told the story to our friend Marissa. She also thought it was funny but she got part of the story wrong and called it the Cancer Studebaker.

Sue, Marissa and I met freshman year. Marissa was a science major at Beloit. Sue and I were history majors. Even though we rarely took the same classes, we remained friends through college and beyond.

The three of us traveled a lot together, mainly in cars. While we were still students, we traveled from Beloit to Minnesota during spring break. We borrowed Sue's brother's Camaro. A total of five of us made that trip in Bob's Camaro. One summer, also while we were students, Sue and I drove to the East Coast. We visited Marissa and her family at their home in Connecticut. After we graduated from Beloit, we traveled to Europe. What a trip! One day I will never forget was the day we spent driving around East Berlin in a rental car that we had rented in West Germany. Our gas dwindled to less than a quarter tank. That was a big problem since we needed to either cross over the border into West Berlin or find a gas station in East Berlin that sold unleaded fuel. In those days, unleaded fuel was scarce in East Berlin. To make a long story short, we made it to a West Berlin gas station that sold unleaded fuel before we ran out of gas.

Years passed. Sue told me some bad news. Sue and I could still travel for pleasure. By a cruel twist of fate, years after John Ed's prophesy, part of it came true for Marissa. She was in the Cancer Studebaker with ovarian cancer doing the driving.

Five years ago, the three of us traveled to Beloit for our 15th reunion. Marissa looked good, she was in remission.

A couple of weeks ago, the Dilettante family took our Hyundai Sante Fe to Beloit. Sue's family traveled in their vehicle from the Chicago area to Beloit. Unfortunately, no Studebakers arrived in Beloit.


Night Writer said...

There's nothing like the road trip. It's full of wonderful sights, unexpected attractions and unmarked detours. Even a good map doesn't show all the bumps along the way, though, or the places where you'd wish there were more guardrails. The fact is that everyone has their own road, but the beauty is that so many can travel it with you, even if most will turn off before you might like, perhaps taking a rugged path to a spectacular scenic overlook.

Oh, but what a trip it is!

Gino said...


Anonymous said...

Mrs D.
A friend of mine from Limerick was recently offering condolences to me on the passing of my mother. He made the observation, in his wonderful brogue, that we are all traveling down the same road, but we each have a different egress. The grand thing is that we still share the same destination.

I am sorry for your loss, but take comfort in the knowledge that you will see your friend again.