Welcome to The Miller House
Don Lehman, 2018


Cover Index
Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05
Chapter 06
Chapter 07
Chapter 08
Chapter 09
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21

Chapter Eighteen

Mr. Reilly was getting his things together. He had a small suitcase and a large leather portfolio. He turned and spoke with the lady and the young boy then reached over and shook Carl’s hand. He said, “Well my boy, you have a bright future ahead of you if you put your nose to the grindstone!” It was an expression Carl had heard before, He smiled and replied, “Oh I will sir, it was a real pleasure meeting you and thanks for the portrait drawing!” Obviously, Mr. Reilly had recognized the view out the window even though it was now dark. For the past half hour there were buildings and traffic in the streets. The train was slowing. Carl made no indication that he was getting up. He did check his bag and everything was in order. He pulled one of the apples out and casually took a bite. It was difficult to control his excitement. He hoped Mr. Reilly would hurry off as soon as the train stopped. He did hurry off and Carl watched him from the window for a moment until he out of view. He stuck the apple back into his bag, stood and slung the bag over his shoulder and grabbed his suitcase from the overhead. As he turned to go, his eyes met the lady with the young boy. She was watching him and seemed curious. Carl just nodded and said, “pleasure ma’am,” and headed toward the car behind. As soon as he entered the car he decided not to continue but so go ahead and get off, making sure to head in the opposite direction that he saw Mr. Reilly take.

As soon as he exited the car he was almost running. Within minutes he was up the steps and on the sidewalk. There were people everywhere and yellow taxis were lined up. He jumped into an empty taxi. The driver said, where to buddy?” Carl was not prepared for the question. He said, I need a place for the night and I don’t have much money - maybe a boarding house.” The cabby said, “Aw, you don’t want no boarding house, how about the YMCA?” Carl just replied, “OK, the YMCA.” There was a YMCA in Greenville and Carl knew people stayed there when they were low in funds and no other place to go. Carl asked where the YMCA was located and the Cabby said, “I’m takin’ ya to 1736 G Street. They had already pulled out and were moving with traffic. Carl thought for a minute and said, Isn’t that near the White House?” The Cabby was fooling with the radio but said, “Bingo.” Carl was trying to remember the maps he had drawn of Washington, DC. especially the areas around the White House. Then he sat back and looked at the city. He caught a glimpse of the Capital dome. Then suddenly, there it was, the White House! Carl knew they were close so he reached into his pocket and pulled out his money. He took five ones and put the rest back. When the cab pulled up in front of a large building, the cabby said, “Here we are, that’s two dollars.” Carl wanted to tip and didn’t have any change so he handed him three ones. The cabby looked at it and said, “Thanks, buddy!”

The cabby either really liked the tip or had a concern for Carl’s welfare because the last thing he said as Carl hiked his shoulder bag and dragged his suitcase out of the back seat was, “I’ll wait to be sure you have a room, as soon as you know that you can stay, just give me a wave from the door.” Carl thanked him and hurried in through he big doors. There were two people at the desk, one was an elderly gentleman and the other looked like some sort of guard. The older man said, “May I help you?” Carl told him he needed a room. The man just looked him up and down then asked his age. Carl told the truth and said that he was fourteen. The man then said he thought that was pretty young to be traveling alone. It had not occurred to Carl that he might encounter this problem. He quickly explained that he was on his way to Baltimore and would just spend a night or two. He informed the man that he had sufficient funds and that the cabby was waiting for an answer. That seemed to satisfy the old gentleman and he said, “Yeah, we got a room for you, but no more than two nights.” Carl picked up his suitcase and walked quickly back to the front door, opened it and waved to the cabby. He watch the cab as it pulled away and the “available light” switch on. Carl then walked back to the desk and signed in and paid for the night. He then asked for change to make a call at the pay phone he saw there in the lobby. The phone was in a small booth. He stood by the booth for a moment thinking about what he was going to say to his uncle.

Carl listened to the phone ring, a woman with a friendly voice said, “hello.” Carl didn’t know what he expected but it took him by surprise, he said, “This is Carl.” She laughed and said, “Carl, that’s wonderful, you are here earlier than we expected. Wilson is getting ready to come in to the station.” Then Carl said, “Well, Hi Aunt Sharon, Here’s the situation, I’m not in Baltimore yet. I really wanted to see Washington, DC and I got off the train here. I’m staying at the YMCA tonight and maybe tomorrow night, then I’d like to get back on the train and come to Baltimore, and your house”. There was an awkward pause and then she said, “Oh.” Another pause and then,”Does your mother know?” Then Carl said, “No, I just decided on the train, I’m pretty sure it will be ok with her. I’ll call her if you think I should.” His aunt then said, “Wait a moment Carl, I want you to talk with Wilson.” Carl waited, there was a signal to put more dimes into the phone. Then he heard some muffled discussion before his uncle picked up and said a cheery, “Hi Carl, Sharon says you are spending the night in DC. That sounds interesting, What are your plans for tomorrow?” Carl said, Well, I’m at a nice YMCA only a few blocks from the White House. I want to walk around tomorrow and see that, the White House, then I want to see the Washington Monument. I will be very close to the National Gallery of Art so I definitely want to go there. I thought I would stay here tomorrow night then go back to Union Station and come to Baltimore on Wednesday. Would that be OK with you? His uncle surprised him by saying, “Sure Carl, that sounds great. You know what, give me a call tomorrow evening, I might take off work on Wednesday and drive down to DC and do a few things with you, then you won’t need to take the train again.” Carl was relieved and responded with, “Thanks Uncle Wilson, That sounds terrific! Then his uncle added, “you must be tired tonight, I’ll call you mother and tell her our plans and you can get some rest before you big day of sightseeing.” Carl was so happy with his uncle’s response to his change of plans. It reassured him that his vacation was going to be ok. Maybe more than ok. He signed off by saying, I’ll call you at 8pm tomorrow. Oh, and I’m at 1736 G Street North West. Good bye!” His uncle answered, I’ll talk to you at 8pm tomorrow then, Good bye!”

Carl hung up the phone and picked up his suitcase, adjusted his shoulder bag and looked at the room key, It said 314. He gave the old man at the desk a nod and headed to the elevator. The guard was over by the front door. An old, back man was sitting on a stool in the elevator. Carl said, “third floor, please, sir.” The old man said, “Yes, third floor,” he closed the door and the gate, turned a handle and up they went. He found his third floor room. It was small but had a sink, a single bed, small table and chair. The bathroom and showers were a few doors down the hall. Carl locked the door, placed his shoulder bag on the bed and his suitcase on the table, then walked to the window and pushed back the curtain. He wanted to go back out but it was after 10pm and he was tired. He didn’t know how safe it was walking the streets late at night. He decided to make some notes in his sketch pad and get some sleep. He would get an early start in the morning. He was so excited by the adventure and the freedom!

  Chapter 19