U.S. CIRCUMFERENCE TRIP, JULY 10-AUGUST 20, 1948, TRAVELED BY JOHN M. HUBBARD AND BRAD RANDALL, JR.
first editionPrinted Self-wrappers
by Hubbard, John M.
s.n., 1948. Original manuscript. Printed Self-wrappers. Very Good. 23pp typescript, using blue ribbon, with a few handwritten corrections in pencil. Bound with brass fasteners, drop-title. 11" x 8.5" Hubbard gives a day-by-day account of the two young men's auto "tour of the United States [taken] to fulfill a suppressed desire to see our country while we were still young and free." Their vehicle is "an old 1938 Plymouth sedan with 97,130 miles on the speedometer to start with." The journey involved several bouts of car troubles, all remedied enroute. ~~ Equipped with "sleeping bags, jungle hammocks, blankets, a camera with color film, a rifle, and four spare tires," the two young men set out from New York City, not far from their Pelham Manor origins, (Brad served in WWII, while John worked at Sears Roebuck in Reno, Nevada during the War.) This journey is an incongruous mix of "roughing it" and frugal living on the one hand, and regular meals at swanky country clubs and nightclubs and visits with socialite relatives and family friends on the other. On most of their nights on the road, they sling their hammocks on trees in trailer parks or "tourist courts" (at an average cost of 50 cents, or free) and once even in the front yard of a church in Washington, Kansas. A few other nights are spent in "cheap hotels" when trees aren't available. And their visits to well-heeled friends and family often provide actual beds. They do no cooking themselves even when camping, and when in towns, they often frequent "ritzy" country clubs and indulge in expensive hobbies like golf and fishing from hired boats. Among the "swankier" stops are 6 days spent at Estero Island, Fort Myers, Florida where Brad's aunt and uncle are renovating a beach house, while the boys hole up in a "private beach cabin" nearby. They drink at the Mermaid Bar, fish the surf, swim, and take a day-trip on "Capt. Hue Branham's cruiser." ~~ In New Orleans, they lunch at Kolb's ("the second oldest restaurant in town") with an old friend of John's, take a Thomas Cook Tour of the city (including a sighting of the "famous Streetcar Named Desire"), dine at "world-famous" Antoine's, then go on to "various racy night clubs,…many hot floor shows…[and] the inner sanctums of the darkest French Quarter." ~~ Houston is another site of high-class diversion, and they go to the "very ritzy [River Oak] Country Club" for lunch and golf with John's cousin Ford Hubbard, Jr. (a socialite and later a philanthropist), followed by an evening jaunt with Ford to a "very secret and exclusive night club in Dickinson [which] turned out to be a big gambling joint…called the Silver Moon" before they turn in to sleep at Ford's house. The following day, they golf, and then with Ford, Sr., tour the "River Oaks Residential area" which is "an architect's dream if there ever was one". A day later. they visit Galveston and "Brad's old flame." who digs up a date for John as well, and they "take the girls to a very swanky gambling club called the Turf Athletic Club…Texas Rangers have been trying to raid the place for months", but John's family's influence gets them past the door. They spend another day golfing in Houston before moving on west. ~~ At San Diego, they take the ferry to Coronado Island "to visit Admiral and Lady Kitts and son and wife." This 8 or 9-day stopover in San Dieego includes dinner at the officers' mess at the Naval Base (where "the Admiral is in charge of the entire Navy Pacific Training Program"), a sightseeing tour of the Island by the Admiral and his wife, dinner at the Admiral's house, a morning looking over the Coronado Hotel as a "job prospect" (unsuccessful), a visit to the "midget auto races...a very exciting and thrill packed spectacle," a "fishing party [to Dead Man's Island] prepared by Admiral Kitts and his aide on a 45' picket boat", and a picnic on a Mexican beach south of "Tijuana" with the Kitts family and the family of his aide, Kenny Wallace. The duo stay two nights with friend George Mentley in Los Angeles, "the most spread out city in the U.S." even in 1948, tour Hollywood with George, including "the largest bowling alley in the world", and then return for a last night with the Kitts on Coronado Island. From San Diego, John and Brad move on to San Francisco, and their nightlife adventures are recounted here by Brad. From there, it's Salt Lake City, Denver, and on into the Midwest and eastward, as Brad records the details in this travel narrative. His journal also describes much of the scenery the boys pass through (hundreds of miles of deserts-called "desserts" in the text---mountain country, Salt Lake City, etc.) and provides a snapshot of American travel conditions just after WWII, when the Cape Charles Ferry had not yet been replaced by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, superhighways were a dream of the future, and many roads still were of gravel or mud. (Inventory #: 038320)
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