Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Western Journey

OM cooking breakfast near Little Rock Arkansas
 A month after his 20th birthday, my dad JL Kerr set out on a life changing journey with his friend OM Monk.  OM was less than a month away from his 20th birthday.  They planned to drive their 1931 Chevrolet from Etowah Tennessee to California.  Along the way they would see those things in the West that came straight from their school books.

JL Kerr at the Grand Canyon
The site of Dad's first job after arriving in California.

Places like the Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, and the Mojave Desert.  OM took this picture of Dad standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  While not mentioned in his diary of the trip, OM loved to tell us about the fateful decision that was made while they were on the North Rim of the Canyon.  Looking at their map, they had a choice of roads to go Southwest to Los Angeles or due West towards San Francisco.  They agreed to let a coin flip decide -  Heads it is LA, Tails it is SF.  He always said that we were lucky that it was Heads.

On Sunday, April 2nd they were standing at the end of Wilshire Blvd looking out at the Pacific Ocean.  From his journal, OM wrote: "We drove hard all day today, Sunday, and came through Hollywood, down to the ocean front to watch the waves roll in.  The Oranges are very abundant and very cheap."  He continues: "Got a room at 711 Marine Street Sunday evening, and started looking for work Monday morning, April 3.  J. landed a job Thurs. and I try out for one on Friday."

This is the Santa Monica Auto Laundry that was JL's first job after arriving in Santa Monica.  It was a Mobil Oil gas station as well.  That is a new friend and OM talking as JL takes their photo.  The 1931 Chevrolet is also in the picture.

In less than a year, Dad and Mom would be married in Feb 1940 after meeting here at this service station.

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