Bud Norton tells his nephew Tim Locher about his childhood adventures growing up in Kansas.
Bud Norton (BD): I ran away about once a week. And they’d always find me on the school ground playing basketball, or I’d come home after dark and my mom always left the back door open. And there was four of us, Dennis Green and Jimmy Brown, and uh, Jack Draves and I, and we ran away. We was going to go to California. We caught a freight. The train stopped, and we thought we was somewhere like Colorado or somewhere half way there. And we sent Jimmy Brown because he was the craftiest of the group, down to the store. And we took up a collection, and we had something like two dollars and eighty cents. And we told him, “Buy something and you know just, stick a couple cans of something in your pocket.”
Well, he came back. He had three or four cans of dog food, a loaf of bread, and a jar of mayonnaise. It must have been about a foot and a half tall. Jack threatened to kill him. And then when we found out we was only in Lawrence, we called Jack’s brother to come and get us. And then one time, I had a whipping coming when my dad got home and I worried about it all day, so I decided to run away. And I’d seen pictures of hobos, you know, with the stick and the little handkerchief tied on it. So, I decided I was going to put everything I owned in this blanket. I had my Sunday suit, brand new ball glove, and my shoes. My dad had just bought me some spikes because I was playing in the All-star game a week later. And I couldn’t find a stick, so I sawed off my mom’s broom handle. We lived about a half a block from the trains down there, and I went down and I threw it on an open box car. Then it gained speed and I couldn’t catch it! I saw all my belongings going down the tracks, and I just stood there and cried and threw rocks at it. I went home and I told my mom. The guy next door was a railroad man, and he called up and checked the train and it was all gone. I went to Sunday school with tennis shoes with tape around the toes and that’s what I played the ball game in. Great experience!
Tim Locher (TL): I’ll bet your dad was real happy with you.
BN: He was thrilled!