By the time they were 21 years old, Heisenberg, Dirac and Bragg were already well on the road to Nobel Prizes.

When I was 21 years old, however, I was your typical youngster with the curiosity of a raccoon and the interests of a rabbit. If you have typical youngsters and want to sleep well tonight you should read no further, because I have in hand my diary for 1957 and am going to copy here the random thoughts and activities of a 21-year-old boy who was always cold and, with $5 in his pocket, left St. George, Maine in his pea coat and hitchhiked to Texas to get warm.

On March 7, I finished a two-year stint on the bridge of the Coast Guard Cutter Laurel.

March 14 “Rode up to the Warren Cutoff. Got a roadmap. Got a ride in a ’53 Plymouth to Moody’s. I want to go where it’s really warm. Got a ride to Wiscasset with a worm digger. He says he can make $10 a day digging worms. Got a ride by Yarmouth Cutoff in a caddy with a lieutenant commander. He had safety belts and I fastened mine.”

Arrived at my aunt’s house in Needham. “Total cash on hand $5.11. Watched a tremendous TV show. ‘The peoples Choice’ ”

March 15 “705 Left with Uncle G. Got off at 128 and got a ride in a ’54 Ford to Route 9 to New Haven. Froze. ’53 Ford and two Air Men (kids) brought me to Jersey T. P. At one time we were doing 100 MPH. Wow! I was seriously considering getting out. Made it through NY without incident. ’57 Ply with less than 100 miles on it to cutoff. Three sailors gave me a ride to Baltimore. I drove for quite a while. 54 (degrees) here. ’52 Buick. He gave me the longest ride I got all the way. Eventually he let me out in Bristol Tenn. . … 1840 hrs – Passed Jefferson Memorial. Took my coat off. Went to Alexandria to his brother’s house and ate two ham sandwiches in a house trailer. 62 (degrees) 2250 hrs, we are in Waynesboro. Moon is out tonight. Three of us in front seat. I slept part way.”

March 16 “Observed the First hillbilly shacks. Red dirt makes everything red. ’57 Buick took me to Chattanooga Tenn. ’55 Chevy to Trenton. All the loafers are out in the sun. Passed Lookout Mountain which is very long. ’55 Chev to Selma 73 (degrees) Went in Gulf station and shaved and washed up. Dark in Mississippi. Rode quite a ways in the truck. Got out when he had flat but got back in as I found he pumped it up. He bought me a coke.”

March 17 “Got ride from Meridan to Jackson with a couple of drunks in a Pontiac. Hitched the wrong way in Jackson till a guy told me I was going the wrong way. (Here I was propositioned for $2.) I flatly refused and got dumped in the wilderness. A ’54 Ford brought me to Vicksburg. ’57 Ply to Tallulah. Stood for more than 2 hrs here. ’54 Pontiac to Jonesboro. ’41 Chev 20 Mi. – ’51 Hudson to Winnfield. ’57 Buick to Alexandrea. ’49 Chev to Galveston. It poured as we neared Beaumont. Water was axle deep on road to ferry. Went on ferry to Galveston. Saw palm trees and pelicans. Got to Huston in 3 more rides. Arrived at Mocker’s. (My deaf friend from St. George.) Slept on the kitchen floor with Mockers’ Bother in law. Had a shower and washed my clothes.”

March 18. (After a good night’s sleep on the floor and washing up) “Spent 5 cents on a Coke. (Nutrition was obviously one of my priorities.) The first money I’ve spent since Thurs.”

March 19. “Got up at 0150 hrs. Went with Nick (Mocker’s brother) on his Pastry route. Went in around 35 Café’s. Bought 4 post cards to send home. Nick explained a lot to me about oil wells. Saw a lot of them. Saw a lot of guys with cowboy boots and hats. … Judy (Nick’s young daughter) thinks I am a square because I don’t like Elvis! Donald Mackinen (from home) came over and I left with him … to spend the night. Cash on hand $4.61.”

Probably because I had a surfeit of money, the next day I decided to continue on to a cousin in California, not knowing that I would be starved out because he kept absolutely nothing to eat in the house – and that a Mexican with whom I could not communicate would run out of gas and strand us in the middle of a sandstorm in Death Valley.

Will I ever be seen again? Stay tuned.

The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland and visited at his website: