There was a young girl who couldn’t get along with her parents. The kids were great (sister and brothers) they would get the news after she was gone.
One day this young girl “PJ”, decided to leave with no money, just the clothes on her back. She had heard an old woman on the radio say “If you want to get somewhere put one foot in front of the other until you arrive, you will get where you are going”. I guess PJ took it literally because she left putting one foot in front of the other.
PJ’s goal was Florida because it is like a mountain I can not climb, she thought. Actually PJ didn’t care what happened but she knew something different was going to happen.
Florida seemed like it was an exotic place to PJ. Someplace she’d never get to go but anyway she had to go now or she would never go. She imagined the happiness she would feel if she reached Florida.
She was young 16 with long blonde-strawberry hair, which was wavy and hazel eyes. She had freckles and an innocent look, was slim and just generally fit. “Could she do it”, she thought. She admitted to herself she didn’t know but was too far to turn back now.
In Maryland she was picked up by a truck driver who was going to Georgia. It was about 1970 0r 1971 and PJ had heard of predators but wasn’t sure what they were except they hurt girls. PJ knew she was taking chances, but it was worth it to get away.
Where she ended up with the truck driver Tom, was on a dark, desolute road quiet except for the sounds of animals. She was asleep on the sleeper in the 18 wheeler and he tried to crawl back there with her. PJ hastily climbed to the front seat fearing the worst.
Tom said “It’s me or the road baby”, she couldn’t believe her choices and she said proudly “I’ll take the road”. She thought he would stop her and when he didn’t (before she shut the door), she asked “How far to the next town”? He said (pointing) ” 40 miles this way, and I don’t know how far the other way”.
She knew it was a lie, he had to know where the last town was behind him. PJ slammed the door and watched the truck drive away into the night not knowing what to do if it stopped.
She looked around at the blackness, a quarter moon, and a lot of scary sounds, (animals calling out to each other. She stood still a minute, then walked in the opposite direction of the truck for about 40 minutes before a car came but it passed her by.
A few minutes later a white ford truck came by and stopped. Oh God help me, get in or not get in. She asked if he was going into town and he said yes. PJ jumped in shaking from the cold and fear. He said “First I have to pick up my work boots” Fear seared through PJ but she was in for the ride and prayed to an unknown God that would save her.
The man turned down a dirt road to get the work books. PJ held onto the handle of the door thinking if he touches me I’m jumping out. The man saw her fear and said “Don’t worry, I would never hurt you. He got out of the truck and came back with boots and tools. PJ let out a breath of relief. They drove 15 minutes to town and he pulled into a restaurant.
He handed me $20.00, told me to get something to eat and get a room and rest. That was all she thought? PJ was so grateful she wanted to hug him but she didn’t. She graciously thanked him, he said “Be careful”. She exited the car
She had breakfast and rented a room for $8.00 and later that day she continued her journey.