Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bookfield, Athens, Georgia Here We Come

After numerous packing delays, we actually set off for Georgia. Mary and I sat in the back seat together and tried to plan how we would settle in Athens as the car passed state lines from Tennessee into Georgia. We couldn’t wait to see the area we would be living in all summer. It was a longer car trip than I thought it would be and we did not arrive even to the Atlanta area until after dark. The driver tuned the radio to a local station and right away a tornado warning was announced. Three tornadoes had been sighted in the Athens area, right where we were headed. I hadn’t figured on tornadoes. I was petrified of tornadoes. We never had any on Long Island and from what I did know they caused indiscriminate destruction and death. Heavy rain pelted the car windows and I could not see much of anything outside in the inky blackness. If a tornado did come, would we see it in enough time to escape? Would we hear it, sounding like a train approaching us? I only heard the thunder, rain, the car’s engine and the wind shield wipers slapping back and forth. The mood in the car was subdued to say the least. The driver strained to see the road ahead. Lightening flashed, illuminating everything suddenly. It was like that the whole way from Atlanta to Athens.

Finally we arrived in Athens. The guys dropped us off at a cheap motel on Broad Street, apparently the main drag. It was raining too hard to even glance around outside, and we grabbed our stuff out of the trunk and ran inside the motel. Even so we were soaked by rain blowing sideways. The rooms were $30 a night. That was really splurging, considering the target rates the company had taught us. Also, I had very little money left from what I had brought with me to Nashville. But, we had gotten there too late to make other arrangements. The storm was audible even in our room. I wondered if the threat of tornadoes was over, and doubted it. I wasn’t sure if we had been safer in the car than under the motel’s roof.

Although there were two double beds in the room Mary asked if we could share one as we had in Nashville. She was frightened by the storm and the uncertainty of our prospects. So was I. I did not object. Actually I welcomed the comfort of our being together. There was no question that we were a team.

I managed to sleep rather well, probably from the lack of it during the week in sales school. The next morning was sunny and bright. The storm had passed. We checked out of the hotel and explored Athens on foot. Parts of it were quite lovely, especially the historic parts of downtown and the fraternity area of the campus. It would be wonderful to live in those areas for the summer. We bought some local news papers and spent Sunday looking through the classified ads for lodging, and visiting rentals. This was difficult because according to the company’s budget plan we were to pay no more than $15 per week. We looked at some beautiful fraternity and sorority houses on the University of Georgia campus, but these were way too expensive.

We stopped and telephoned Beverly, the mother of a former Parchment sales person, whose phone number the company had provided us with. She sounded very nice and said that she had company that night, but we could stay at her house on Monday and Tuesday night. I was astounded by the hospitality of her offer. She also offered a few hints of where to look for lodging in Athens. We were relieved to have someplace to stay those two days, but as the afternoon approached we were in a panic as to where to stay that night. We had spent all most all of our funds for the motel the night before. I was pretty anxious about not having a place to stay. It occurred to me that just last week my biggest problem was missing the bus to my hotel from the airport. But, I knew that I had to be strong, at least Mary and I were in this together. I had faith that together we would find something.

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