“Class,” Miss Ericsson was saying as I tuned back in, “I wonder if you have any questions you would like to ask Mr. Unruh.”
It was now Ervin Huddleston’s turn to carry the ball. He asked Grandpa how he escaped Russia.
So Grandpa told the story. In the spring of 1906, when he was twenty, his father had taken him to Kiev, where he bought his son a railroad ticket toWarsaw and gave him his brother’s passport and money for the long trip. InWarsaw he bought a ticket to a town next to the German border. When he was on the train, he met a Pole who offered to smuggle him across for about eighteen dollars,“vhich,”Grandpa pointed out,“vas a lot uf money in dose days.” When he got off the train he carried a handkerchief in his left hand and his suitcase in his right, which was exactly what the Pole had told him to do; it would be a signal. He was met by two men who took him to the edge of the town and walked with him into a forest to a small farmhouse beside a creek. This creek was on the border. It was guarded by an armed sentry, who kept marching up and down alongside it. The two men told him to stay there till dark. He should wait till the sentry turned and marched the other way and then make his run for it. When the sun went down Grandpa waited for the sentry to take off in the other direction. Then he took his shoes in one hand and his suitcase in the other and ran for freedom across the creek,“vit my heart pounding like mad,” he said.
He made it.The class began to breathe again.