I Was a Teenage Earthworm
(Reprinted from the South Wind, May 7, 1965)
by Bonnie Doerr (written when she was 16!)
Part Two in which gas is found, but more problems abound.
At last we discovered a station that was just opening for the day, but our problem was not solved. George could not locate the key to his tank. After much emptying of pockets, dumping of bags, and rummaging under seats and in the glove compartment, the key was found. Not the end. The tank cap was frozen shut. Money was pooled. A spray can was purchased, and for the first time we appreciated the TV commercial jingle "My advice sir, get De-Icer."
Next, I expected a blowout, but was rewarded with only a broken radio knob which meant that the radio was going to be on the entire day. It wouldn’t turn off or switch to a working station. The dial stayed right where it was and buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzed.
We arrived at Molers Cave around 7:30 with frazzled nerves and went straight to the farmhouse for permission to enter the cave. There was little to lift the spirits in this experience either. The farmer’s wife made us sign a paper that released her from any responsibility in case anything should happen to us. Like what?
After receiving curious glances from the cattle as we drove through the fields, we stopped and began to prepare. We each pulled on outer clothing, filled our carbide lamps, first with water and then carbide. Next we put on boots, gloves, and helmets. All this was quite a trick as the temperature was 20 degrees and my fingers were frozen stiff.
I felt like a reject from a rummage sale. My outer trousers were my father’s, my sweatshirt was my brother’s (also a spelunker), as were my helmet and my lamp. My two–inches-too-long boots were Dick’s and my gloves were Dan’s. Could anyone imagine the likes of me in a prom gown?
We trudged to the junction of two ravines to find the cave’s entrance . The opening is fifteen feet wide and high enough that one can duck to enter. I was extremely anxious to get inside because the boys told me the interior temperatures range from 50 degrees F to 64 degrees F. Finally, we entered and I breathed a sigh of relief to see the large open space before me. I could walk! I would thaw. Heaven. Major jumping-to-conclusions mistake.
END Part 2
Coming Next...I had no idea what would happen. Panic in Molers Cave! Stay tuned…
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