A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 99. On the Road Again

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The farmer was totally stunned when I told him we were gonna leave. He could not believe we had gotten a job.

Now, how to get there. It was 150 miles away and no vehicle. I thumbed another ride to Winnipeg and went looking at used cars. I found a 1929 Ford Model A quarter ton truck for $95. It ran too. It was a convertible with canvas top, kind of drafty, the wind blew right through it. Leaks were no concern, it never rained in the winter.

On January 12 1949, we had our stuff loaded on the truck - the cracks, corners and slits stuffed with newspapers to keep the wind out. Our feet were in felt boots with paper around them too. Of course, no heater, this would be useless any way. A tank full of gas and a gallon of oil to keep the engine happy. We had a crank in case it got so cold the starter could not turn the motor, which happened when we went to our fellow immigrants in Petersfield to say good bye. There we stayed over night.

The next morning, it was so cold, like 30 below zero Fahrenheit. It took a lot of cranking the crank, and time to get the motor to turn over. But now, the morning of our departure, it was only 20 below zero and we could start with the battery. Our spirits were high. When we hit the road, we hoped to make Kenora today, which was around 160 kilometers. We sang and hummed along with the old rattle trap.

In Bousejour, the snow was ploughed up two meters high. Never in all our born days had we seen so much snow. We didn't have no time to stay and wonder. The roads were packed with hard snow, but were ploughed.

We traveled along at about thirty miles per hour, as if not a care in the world. However, our movement was rudely interrupted when I saw a tire and wheel passing us. It took off over the snow and came to rest sixty meters in the bush. It turned out to be our rear wheel, the nuts had come off.

Now what? No problem. Margaret was walking back to find the nuts. I was crawling through the snow, which was one meter deep, to retrieve the tire and wheel. When I got back, Margaret had found three of the five nuts. As most of the load was on the rear wheels, we took one nut off each front wheel and put it on the back. Soon, we were as secure as the Bank of Manhattan. We were on the road again as if nothing had happened.

Except for the cool weather, we travelled like a king and queen in the golden coach, very little traffic and no mosquitos or bugs to make life tough. The sound of our engine made up for the lack of a radio. Then at one time, we saw a big timber wolf crossing the road in front of us. Our first sighting of a wild animal - it's a thrill.

We made Kenora just before dark, found a place in a heated garage for our transport and we bedded down in a hotel. Next day, we drove the last fifty miles, arrived in Sioux Narrows at noon where we got the key to our cabin from Mrs. Best, who ran the post office.

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