Lost in America

Over the last month or so, there have been  a few times that I’ve gotten lost while driving  somewhere. (My GPS was in the shop). Almost every time this happens, I think of my father.  As I recollect, there was hardly any family trip that we took that didn’t include either the “getting lost” part or the car “breakdown” part, often both.  I assumed that in all families these were expected events of  any outing.  The only mystery being when they might  happen and if it was going to be a double-header or not.  

My father was very sanguine about the “getting lost” thing.  As if he  thought it was just an additional leg of any trip.  Although in most ways not typically a “macho’ man, he was stereotypically against stopping to ask for directions.  In fact, if someone in my family would try to get detailed directions for any proposed trip,  he would chide, “they send kids  from Poland to Cleveland (I think it was Cleveland)  with no directions at all “.  Coming from Sam Stein, an irony of ironies.

There was a time when my parents were invited to visit some friends in Connecticut.  For my father, this was completely foreign territory.  The truth is  they had as much of a  chance of making it to their friends’ house as if they had been invited to some small hut in the remotest part of Fiji.   But, with some vague idea of how to get to Connecticut, my parents headed out.  Some time into their drive my father spotted a car with  Connecticut license plates.  As far as he was concerned this was so much  better than any map.  And he started following that car with the expectation of arriving in some suburban nirvana, hopefully somewhere near to his friends’ town.  Unfortunately,  after about an hour or so, the lead car pulled into a driveway somewhere in the Bronx.  My father followed the car into the driveway and he and the other driver got out simultaneously.  My father confronted the poor man, asking “What are you doing  stopping here when you live in Connecticut?”  At which point the other guy explained that he lived in the Bronx but had a country house in Connecticut and used that address for his plates.   My father would tell this story on himself…..a way of showing his sense of humor about his shortcomings.  I loved him for that. 

Have a happy Fourth!   Drive carefully…….and plan your route!!

"Lost in........ well, anywhere."


4 Responses to “Lost in America”

  1. Richard Says:

    A real laugher. A nice respite from my attempt to get something done today. I could picture your family and see this all playing out.

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    rich… glad i can help out.
    it’s nice that you remember and go along with the idealized version.

  3. morton shavell Says:

    My Uncle Sam, a remakable man in many way’s, would not, could not, had not an inkling what the word directions meant. We had just buried my Father and I was leading a procession of 8-10 cars from the burial site to my home, a distance of 15 blocks. My Uncle was right behind me in the line of cars going to my home. Can you visualize this? He was surronded by relatives in 8-10 cars. When we arrived at the house he was not to be found. About an hour later we received a call from my Aunt Ruth who explained they were lost and could i come and get them. She had to stop a person in the shopping center to tell me where they were. Two of us went to pick them up, one to drive his car back to our home. If you can top that steinstory lets hear it. I’ve just begun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. roberta berman Says:

    Your father needed Uncle Joe

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