March 14th, Tuesday—Breakfast Behind Bars In the morning we lay comfortably in our jail cell for sleep was quite a delicacy in our vagabond life of late. Yes, Sir...if the boys back home and our folks could see us now!
Author: Thomas J. Larson
Category: Biography & Autobiography
In September of 1937, Eagle Scout Tom Larson put a packsack on his back and set out to see the world. After two years at the University of Minnesota, he hitchhiked westward from his hometown of Aitkin, Minnesota. Eight months later as a seaman on a west coast oil tanker, he'd saved $250 dollars. After riding on freight cars and hitchhiking, he arrived in New York City. Luckily he was able to work passage on a Danish freighter to Antwerp, Belgium. Then on his bicycle "Napoleon" he traveled through Belgium and Holland and thence through England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Across the North Sea to Norway he cycled through Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, the three Baltic states into Poland and Nazi Germany. In Paris he met his friend, Eagle Scout Edwin Woolverton, of Albert Lea, Minnesota. After wild and hilarious adventures in France and Belgium, they crossed the Mediterranean to Algeria. They took refuge in the youth hostel in Sidi Bou Said, Tunesia. From there their vagabond travels took them to Sardinia, Italy, Switzerland, and back into Germany. Back in Paris they mingled with refugees before making one last journey into West German bordertowns and Holland. War threatened at any day. Luckily in late March of 1939, they worked their way home on a Norwegian freighter through a great North Atlantic storm to New York, just four months before the Nazis invaded Poland and began WWII. On December 7th, 1941, Tom ended up in the Battle of Pearl Harbor. Edwin Woolverton served on numerous merchant ships during the war. They survived on a shoe-string budget, good luck, oatmeal and Scout hospitality.