You Can’t Get There from Newark

Get 500 miles or so from Maine, and dang some people are hard to understand. On leave to return home from Fort Dix in New Jersey back in ’68, I had a wicked time getting a bus ticket to Newark to catch a plane for Bangor. Replying to “What is your destination?”, I said “I’d like a tick-it to Noo-ahk.” You can ‘magine the puzzled look.

Asked again “What city?”, I replied in perfect English “Noo-ahk.” Then it started getting difficult. Speaking slower than molasses in Fort Kent in February she says “I’m sorry young man, but do… you… want… to go… to Noo York?”. “Nope” says I. “I’d like a tick-it to Noo-ahk.” I can’t really say who was more frustrated at the moment yet the line was beginning to back up some and no translator handy.

Then she has the nerve to ask “Well, son, I’m having trouble understanding; can you spell that?”. Insulted, it was time for a little dry humor, so I replied “Ayuh” and cut her off with a moment of dead silence to let it sink in. She didn’t get it. Happy ending was when I conceded and wrote down N-e-w-a-r-k and the light bulb went off. On the return trip I already had Fort Dix written down. Last thing I needed was “You can’t get there from Newark.”

Jim's handwritten signature

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