June 18, 2014

I Hit The Nice People Jackpot (Part Two)

I Hit The Nice People Jackpot (Part Two)
By John R. Greenwood

Jack Lewis
Probably his late teens or early twenties
From Jack's book "A Brush With Fate"

Continued from my previous post 
Click Here: (Part One) 

Carole Foster picked up her cell phone and called her husband Tom. A few minutes later a white pickup passed by the window and in came the man who would have more information about Jack Lewis than I could ever have imagined. After I shook his hand and briefly explained my visit, Tom's face lit up like mine did when Carole informed me I was indeed in the right place. He remembered Jack well and said he stayed with Tom's family for quite a long time. He said one day Jack loaded up Tom's brothers and sisters in his station wagon and took them all to visit Fort Ticonderoga. He smiled from ear to ear as he told the story. I smiled from ear to ear hearing it. 

I was a little confused by the fact that Jack used the name Forster in the book and not Foster. My wife provided one explanation and I later thought of another. When I got home and shared my afternoon adventure with my wife, she instantly asked if the family was originally from Massachusetts? She works at a local college and many of the students and parents she speaks with are from the Boston area. She said that with a Boston accent Foster could be interpreted as Forster. I said Foster using my best Kennedy imitation and I'll be a son-of-gun. Later that night as I typed out a thank you letter to the Fosters I began to wonder if Jack used a name variation on purpose to give the Fosters some privacy? Later that night I stumbled upon the obituary of Tom's mother which indicated that before moving to the present farm the families lived in the area of Watertown Massachusetts. Both theories make sense. The fact that I found the Fosters made it a mute point. It only added some intrigue to the story--like a good mystery should. 

The Fosters and I exchanged bits and pieces of our individual backgrounds and I instantly felt as though we'd known each other for years. It was like stretching your legs out next to a warm stove and listening to comforting tales from a more peaceful place in time. Tom slowly thumbed through Jack's book and tried to help me identify the exact location of some of Jack's other panoramas. His information had me itching to check them out. 

By the time I left we had each others contact information and the Fosters were even so kind as to provide contact numbers to Tom's sisters who they felt could provide even more information about Jack. I was like a little kid who'd been given free tickets to the county fair. 

As I left, Tom walked out to the driveway with me. He commented on my Honda motorcycle. Two minutes later we discovered we'd both owned Suzuki's back in the early 1970's, both of which were purchased at Mueller's Cycle Shop on Church St. in Saratoga Springs. Another ten minutes of fond reminiscing was to follow. 

Yes, I forgot my camera today and it upset me, but what Tom and Carole gave me today could never be captured in a photograph anyway. I left the gravel driveway grinning like a father holding his first born child. I was re-energized with these new found remnants of Jack Lewis and excited to continue my own journey up and down the Hudson River. 

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