I left Michigan for the last time when I was 18. One freezing cold day in February of 1978, I was done. Done with school, done with the weather, done with that small town, and done with a relationship. It was time to move on.
My chance came when a friend was going to Springfield to visit her father and stepmother. She didn’t want to go alone, and asked if I would go with her. I came up with the $86 one-way plane ticket and packed a small yellow suitcase. Before I knew it, we were on a plane bound for Missouri.
We arrived late in the day, and when her father and stepmom picked us up, they were excited to see us. They took us out to celebrate at a restaurant at a Holiday Inn. After dinner a band started playing, and it only took a song or two before we were on the dance floor. I felt like I was a big city girl doing big city things. I felt brave.
We danced to every song and by the time the band was ready for a break, we were chatting with them like they were long lost friends. Most of my friends back home were musicians, and it felt comfortable and natural talking with them. It was easy to strike up a friendship in a matter of minutes.
As the evening wound down and we were ready to leave, one of the band members handed me a note. On it was his name and phone number. I smiled and stuffed it in my pocket and headed home with my girlfriend’s family.
Once inside their home, everything changed. Her stepmother was off to show my friend her room, while her father escorted me to the den, where I was to stay. He closed the door behind us, and looked me straight in the eye and said the only way I was going to be allowed to stay was if I put out.
At first I didn’t realize what he was saying. So I asked, “put out what?”. He said either I was going to put out or get out. The look on his face told me what he meant. I stood there dumbfounded for just a moment and then I walked out the door. Just like that.
The brave feeling I had earlier that evening was gone when I found myself outside in the cold with nothing but a small yellow suitcase to my name. Searching my pockets I found a few dollars and that small piece of paper.
I managed to pull myself together enough to find a phone booth and dial the number that was given to me earlier. I was so relieved when Jonathan answered that call. I stood in the cold waiting for a ride from him, knowing I would never see my friend again.
I had no idea where I was going or what would happen. I just knew, for some reason, I could trust the musician that was on his way to rescue me.