Washington Trip
by Joe Mosconi


A little background before I start talking about some of the events that occurred on my trip to our capital, Washington, D.C.  I, like my two older brothers, faced the same problem as we were getting ready to graduate from high school and go out and make a niche in world.  I had never left the outskirts of my home town except to ride in a bus to a football or basketball game.  I never slept anywhere except my own bed for 17 years.  I had never had a meal in a restaurant nor ate a meal at anyone’s home except our own.  To say we were unprepared to go out in the world is an understatement of major proportions.  Apparently my parents thought so, so they made arrangements for my cousin Lou and me to visit our Aunt babe who worked in Washington.

Now, Lou had prepared himself for this trip and had already secured a job for the summer.  I was going along for the ride and hopeful see what the real world was like.  We boarded the bus and we secured the front two seats behind the driver and, being in such a good position, we felt it was our responsibility to entertain the balance of people on the bus.  It didn't take long before the bus driver told both of us to keep our mouths shut and let the rest of the riders enjoy the trip.  After a short while, we heard the driver say Washington and Lou and I got off the bus.  Little did we realize we were in Little Washington, Pa.  The bus left and we were stranded.  It took awhile, but they finally put us on another bus for Washington.  Of course, Aunt Babe went nuts.  She had no idea what had happened to us, nor could she call since none of us had a telephone and cell phones weren't invented yet.

Well, we finally got there and our near-hysterical aunt was happy to see us.  Now, we lived with Aunt Babe but also Lou's sister, Pauline and our Aunt Earline.  There were only two bedrooms in the apartment so Lou and I got one.  They shared the other one.  To make things worse, Lou's cousin Clara arrived about a week later.  Now there were 6 in two bedrooms.

Another big surprise came a couple of days after we were in Washington when Aunt Babe told me she had made arrangements for me to take a civil service test, and if I passed I would get a job at the Army War college where Lou was working.  Now, I was never the brightest student and I think they all figured I would fail the test and they would then ship me back to Powhatan.  Since everyone had to work, they gave me specific instructions on how to get downtown to take the test, and Aunt Babe gave me her telephone number so I could call as soon as I was finished.  Well, as luck would have it, I passed the test and I went to the nearest drug store to call Aunt Babe.  I found the telephone and was about to make the call when I realized I didn't know how.  Now, the only telephones I had ever seen in Powhatan were party lines and they all had cranks.  You would crank the telephone and an operator would get on the line and you told her who you wanted.  Well, I sat looking at that telephone and finally the clerk came over and ask me what the problem was.  I told him and he thought I was pulling his leg.  He had never seen a telephone with a crank.  Well I finally convinced him that I was telling the truth and he dialed Aunt Babe.  When I told her the story she went hysterical again.  She was afraid that when I tried to get back home I would get lost and they would never see me again.  Well I fooled them twice that day, first I passed the test and secondly I got home safely.

The next day I started my job in the Army War college as a messenger boy.  Lou worked in an office as a typist.  I would deliver mail to the offices and of course see Lou in the process.  This front office connection worked well for us.  I would hear things and relay them to Lou who, of course, told every one else.  I don't think they ever figured our how so many rumors got started.

Well there are many stories about our Washington trip but I'll save those for another time.  I also want to report to you that since I was going to be a senior in high school, I had to leave Washington about two weeks before Lou since I played football, and in those days football practice always started on 20 Aug., and I wasn't about to miss the start of practice for my senior year.  Again, much to my surprise and theirs I made it home with out getting lost.

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