I have a couple of hitchhiking stories from Jim Mill. No idea where he is now. The one I’m not showing you might not be politically correct. Ah what the heck, If it gets censored it gets censored. So here’s to Old Bull and Allen Ginsberg, Jackie Kerouac, and Neal Cassidy. Read “Sexy Mary” at your peril. It might warp your sensibilities. In my experience hitchhiking was usually a rewarding experience, but sometimes it took you into weird, terrifying, uncharted and surreal territory.
Hitchhiking to Rochester
My family disintegrated in 1962. My dad died and it wasn’t that close an extended family. So I didn’t see cousins and things at Christmas any more and considering that that half of the family was Jewish…but in the early days they used to come over for Christmas anyway.
In 1971 I was 17 we’d had a band exchange program with a high school in Fairport New York, which is south of Rochester. I was president of the band and lived with my brother in an apartment, so I’d have to billet people.
Everybody lives with their mom and dad or whatever, so the authorities assume the kids are going to be safe sexually, but my living situation was different. Our band had gone to Fairport already. I had a crush on these two girls. My brother was only 20 and I was 17. So I arranged to billet the two prettiest girls. That’s what I thought. The ones I had a crush on would be lodging with me.
Anyways, I fell in love with one of them. She was a genius and on her way to Julliard and played the clarinet in the high school the band. I was just a 3rd rate french horn player. I never played after I left high school.
One long weekend I decided to hitchhike down and visit her. It was Victoria Day weekend as a matter of fact. I decided to hitchhike down to her place and she said it was ok even though she was getting engaged to somebody—an Italian girl with a big extended family.
I got a ride with a rock band in a van as far as Hamilton. I didn’t know how I was going to get across the border but was planning to cross in Niagara Falls. One of the band guys hollered after me: “Hey Dude. Good luck man. Watch out at the border they might think you’re a draft dodger trying to sneak back home.” I was wearing green overalls and they thought I might look suspicious.
Then this couple picked me up. A young man, a young woman, kind of swarthy couple and they were bickering, bickering. They were going to Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake to visit her dad. It turns out my Uncle Sam lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake and I’m looking at them. Micah and Miriam and they were cousins I hadn’t seen in 10 years, since I was a little kid. Now I’m a long haired hippie teenager.
I said, “Are you Micah and Miriam Gamble?” and they said “Yeah. Who are you?” They didn’t remember, they were older than me so they hadn’t changed that much. They’d gone from 14 to 20. But I’d gone from 7 to 17, so I turned out from baby into a man and they were just maturing. So they said “Yeah. What are you doing!?”
And I said, “I’m Jim. Your cousin. Jim…Jim.”
“Oh wow! Are you ever getting older.” Blah, blah, blah and it was them that drove me across the border.
That was just family coincidence that out of 200,000 cars on the road that day these long-lost cousins pick me up. The first took me to their dad’s place in Niagara-on-the-Lake and his father, who is 90s, was also there. They were all Jews. The old guy was a Stalinist, left all his money to the Communist Party of Canada when he died. Sam was a Trotskyite along with my own dad in the 30s and 40s. They went to Newfoundland when Trotsky stopped briefly in Canada on his way to his assassination in Mexico. They were fans, I guess. Trotskyites.
Miriam had just joined the Wobblies. I met her again years later when I attended a convention on Winchester Ave in Toronto. It’s a dance theatre now but at the time it had been a community centre. We decided to adopt John Lennon’s “Imagine” as the new anthem of the Wobbly movement. How flakey can you get? And Micah works at the CBC. Nice guy, not politically affiliated.
I did eventually get to Rochester and met my friend’s fiancé. Back in Toronto I’d taken her to see Godspell. I remember we got in a parked car that night and necked. We didn’t know whose car it was, the car was open and we just got in the back seat. I thought if she necks with me in a stranger’s car I’m welcome to visit her.
So I arrived at her house during her engagement party and the family put me up. “This is my family. This is my fiancé. We’re getting married.” It broke my heart.
Sexy Mary by Jim Mill
In 1973 I’d been working and had done a couple of semesters from the University of Guelph. but I wasn’t doing that well there. A friend called me up who was picking tobacco in Delhi, Ont. which is the birthplace of Thomas Edison, or so the sign claims. Nothing else was happening so I went tobacco picking.
Tobacco season finishes the end of September. When the picking ended I thought…I’m going out west…I’ll hitchhike out west. That had been going on for eight or nine years but the exodus of people had waned, like that whole Wawa thing, where you used to have hundreds of young people lined up waiting for a ride, carving their initials in trees, their epitaphs even. The pace had slacked off and hitchhiking was getting harder; fewer motorists were offering rides. And as far as camaraderie on the road, there was a lot less of it, but there were still hitchhikers.
I got a couple of weird rides and normal rides and I was up north of Superior past Wawa. It was the beginning of October and I froze my butt off sleeping in a park one night. So in Thunder Bay I spent the rest of my tobacco money on a super-duper sleeping bag that was good to 40 below.
I didn’t have any money left and I had to get to BC. I was going to pick apples in the Okanagan. That was the plan, a hair-brained plan.
So I’m outside of Calgary, the sun’s coming down, and I’m thinking if I can’t get a ride maybe I’ll bunk out in this super duper sleeping bag.
A car draws up and a couple picks me up. They’re in their mid-50s, skinny little guy, big fat wife-like person (that’s what I thought at the time). They made me sit in between them in the front seat which was weird. I wasn’t drinking at the time, I’d been a heavy drinker for a couple of years and just quit. I’m going to take six months off, I thought.
We were driving along. Across the prairie you can just see the foothills of the Rockies. “We’re not going anywhere, just out for a drive,” the skinny guy says. “She’s not my wife, I’m married,” he says. Do you want a drink?”
“No thanks, I quit.”
“Aw come on, have a drink. Western hospitality,” he says. I was just a dumb kid so I said OK.
So he goes on, “Mary will serve us.” Mary’s giggling, she looks retarded, she’s got a moustache and seven or eight chins. Not that there’s anything wrong with being hideous.
“Mary,” he says. “Mary will serve us the whiskey topless.”
I’m thinking that I’m stuck in between these two. I was a late bloomer when it comes to sexuality. I mean I wasn’t a big guy or anything.
She starts giggling and he goes, “Come on Mary,” so she rolls down her top and she’s got these huge udders and it’s just like it’s too weird, and they’re old. Now I could say, let me out of this fucking car, but I’d be stuck in the dark on the highway in the middle of nowhere. So I’m just being polite.
He says, “Touch ‘em,” and takes my hand and puts it on her boob. So I have one hand on her breast and a drink of whiskey in the other hand and I’m driving along with these two people I’ve never seen before. It’s crazy.
We drive into the foothills up a little road. He explains to me, “You know, Mary’s married but her husband’s an alcoholic and he just goes to the bar. He never fucks her. I got a wife I got to screw and I screw Mary when I can but I can’t screw her all the time. All she needs is a good screw, right?”
This was in a station wagon. He pulls off the road somewhere in the dark and the implication is I’m going to service Mary or else they’re going to leave me here in the middle of nowhere. I guess they read me like a book. I wasn’t capable of violence.
So he goes for a walk and she pulls out a condo. She says, “Are you sexy,” and puts her hand down my pants and starts whiffling with my flaccid penis. She pulls on the condom but I don’t have an erection or anything.
She lies down in the station wagon and I try to oblige her but I can’t get an erection and she’s got a cavernous vagina. So I’m sort of humping her with my pelvis. Time passes and I haven’t got an erection of fully entered her when the stupid condom falls off my penis and onto the floor of the car.
She asks me, “Are you done? Are you done? Did you go?” (not, “did you come,” western vernacular, you know).
I said something like “I haven’t even started yet,” trying to sound like some tough guy, like ‘hey baby’, I don’t know what I was trying to sound like, it was so confusing.
The guy comes back and starts banging on the window. Maybe he was watching the whole time. “We gotta go,” he says. “We gotta go.” So she reaches down to see where the condom is and it’s not on my dick. She panics and shoves her hand in her vagina looking for it. “Oh,” I say. “It’s right here.”
She’s worried that I may have ejaculated into her but I didn’t even get an erection. I didn’t actually enter her.
They took me down to a truck stop and said goodbye. I just kept hitchhiking and don’t remember the next ride. Oh yes I do, it was two hippies going to Banff. The guy was from Germany and she was French. They had a little kid with them. I said, you’re never going to believe this story and told them right on the spot. They told me I should write it down and I did but lost it eventually.
I called it the Rape of the Hitchhiker, not because I was physically coerced but there was an element of I have to do this or else. It was so weird. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I tried to oblige but she had a gigantic vagina and didn’t even know that I didn’t fuck her.
I was so young. You know how you’re horny when you’re young. Anything makes you horny? Like I’d quit drinking and was celibate for months after that. I used to have nocturnal omissions about Sexy Mary whom at the time of the incident I thought was horrifyingly ugly and I couldn’t get an erection. Later on I thought god damn, I’ll be on my death some day saying I should have been able to get it up. I missed out on a sexual experience I might have enjoyed.
The sexual content of this story is an exception. I mean there’s lots of speculative sexual stuff when hitchhiking, but in those days, when I was a young guy hitchhiking around, it usually involved older men out driving looking for hitchhikers to have anonymous sexual encounters, which some segments of the homosexual community really enjoy.
I’d been propositioned while hitchhiking hundreds of times within the Toronto City limits. You get drunk down at Yonge Station and you’ve got to hitchhike home to Scarborough. A guy picks you up, and this is the code word, you always know, he asks, “So you got a girlfriend?”
My sexuality is pretty elastic. But at the time I was looking for girls and the idea of a fortyish guy offering me a BJ didn’t appeal to me. They’d say stuff like, “does your girlfriend give you BJs? With your eyes closed it feels the same.” No thanks, I’d say. Hey that’s my stop. Where you going? Steeles Ave is disappearing in the rear view mirror. That happened a lot, where as a hitchhiker you’d feel threatened, although the driver was always taking the chance on picking up a real bad homophobe who would beat them up and steal their car. That happened, too.
So when I got offered to screw Sexy Mary it was quite a surprise. I was awakening to the fact that it was a horny world out there.
Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.
With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude. All posts by Harry Rudolfs