A Runaway Boy's Temptation: The Train Tracks Bud Norton was a restless young man in the 1940s. And he often made his life into an adventure. As he told his nephew recently, "I ran away about once a week."
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A Runaway Boy's Temptation: The Train Tracks

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A Runaway Boy's Temptation: The Train Tracks

A Runaway Boy's Temptation: The Train Tracks

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131936561/131955660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It is Friday morning, which is when we hear StoryCorps. Family members are interviewing each other for this product, recording their favorite stories. We get to listen. And that includes today's conversation between Tim Locher and his uncle, Bud Norton. Bud talked about a few of his childhood adventures in Kansas during the 1940s.

Mr. BUD NORTON: I ran away about once a week.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. NORTON: And they'd always find me on a school ground playing basketball, or I'd come home after dark, and my mom always left the back door open.

And there was four of us - Dennis Green and Jimmy Brown and Jack Draves and I -we ran away. We was going to go to California. We caught a freight. The train stopped, and we thought we were somewhere like Colorado or somewhere, halfway there.

And we sent Jimmy Brown, because he was the craftiest of the group, down to the store. And we took up a collection, and we told him, buy something, and you know, just stick a couple cans of something in your pocket.

Well, he came back, he had three or four cans of dog food, a loaf of bread and a jar of mayonnaise - it must have been about a foot-and-a-half tall. Jack threatened to kill him. And then when we found out we was only in Lawrence, we called Jack's brother to come and get us.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. NORTON: And then one time I had a whipping coming when my dad got home, and I worried about it all day, so I decided to run away. And I'd seen pictures of hobos, you know, with a stick and the little handkerchief tied on it. So I decided I was going to put everything I owned in this blanket. I had my Sunday suit, brand-new ball glove and my shoes. My dad had just bought me some spikes, because I was playing in the all-star game a week later. And I couldn't find a stick, so I sawed off my mom's broom handle.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. NORTON: We lived about a half a block from the trains down there, and I went down there and I threw it on this open box car. And then it gained speed, and I couldn't catch it. And I saw all my belongings going down the tracks, and I just stood there and cried and threw rocks at it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. NORTON: I went home and I told my mom. And the guy next door was a railroad man, and he checked the train. And that was it. It was all gone. I went to Sunday school in tennis shoes with tape around the toes, and that's what I played the ball game in, and great experience.

Mr. TIM LOCHER: I bet your Dad was real happy with you.

Mr. NORTON: He was thrilled.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: That's Bud Norton with his nephew Tim Locher in Kansas City, Missouri. Their interview will be archived in the Library of Congress, as all these StoryCorps interviews are. And you can sign up for the StoryCorps podcast at npr.org.

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