Wobbly, the Rough-And-Tumble Story of An American Radical

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview
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ONE day, as though back from the dead, came Captain Eddy. He was free. Mrs. Jeanie Patten had finally secured his release from Leavenworth. Eight years was a long time for a man like that to be locked up. Edith and I took the day off from work to give him a royal welcome. It was an unforgettably happy day.

From the new Palmer House we walked, oblivious of the crowds, to the garage where our recently acquired Chrysler was waiting. Eddy wanted to drive it home. I was foolish enough to let him take the wheel. How we got out of the Chicago traffic without being arrested I have never figured out. Or how we reached Lombard without an accident. The highways were a sheet of smooth ice. It was one of those days when every twig and branch along the way was fantastic with sparkling encrustations. Eddy drove the Chrysler as though he were at the controls of that airplane he coveted. But we made it. There was a big celebration. Captain Eddy left for Pittsburgh, where he managed to get an option on a small commercial flying field.

One day not long afterward Chicago papers told of a Ryan monoplane coming down in flames over Belvidere. The picture of Eddy, pretty badly messed up, was printed with the story of his miraculous escape. The papers neglected to state that the new Ryan represented the sum total of his earthly possessions. All he had left in the world was a kit of airplane tools and his scorched flying togs—and a grin. That afternoon he knocked on our door. But Eddy wouldn't stay down. Another flying field, a secondhand plane, both on credit, and within six months he was "in the bucks" again. Then came a neatly engraved marriage announcement and a three-page typewritten letter.

"Living on borrowed time,"
he concluded,
"doing well, but somewhat cramped in this environment."


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