Cold Night in Cleveland – Pt. 1

Since nothing is happening nowadays worth writing about I’ve decided to tell of a rather unpleasant experience I had long ago.

I was driving back to Baltimore after attending a regional conference in Denver, Colorado.  It was a miserable, cold, windy and snowy Saturday in mid-winter of either 1975 or 1976.  It was my second day on the road and it was already full dark out at around 6 PM.  I was over 1,300 miles from Denver – just south of Cleveland, Ohio where I was to turn off onto another Interstate Highway in a southeasterly direction towards home, about 300 miles away.

I could have gone the rest of the way and get home before midnight, but I had already driven close to 700 miles that day – so I decided to stop at a motel before the turnoff, have a leisurely dinner and get a good night’s sleep, and finish the trip in the daylight on Sunday.

To repeat, it was a miserable cold night – temperature around 0ºF (-18ºC), too cold to snow; the winds had to be over 25 mph and frigid, picking up the snow from drifts, not the soft fluffy stuff either – pelting my bare face with tiny icy needles, as I rushed from my car to the motel office.

After checking in I went back out to the car and drove around to the back of the motel and parked as close to the entrance I thought would be closest to my second floor room.  Unlike most motels there were no outside entrances to the rooms.  Instead, the motel had several long two story wings with entrances at each end.

Once in my room I freshened up and decided to drive to a restaurant I had seen near the motel – but after passing only a few doors in the hallway I changed my mind about going out into the elements again I would dine indoors at the motel’s restaurant adjacent to the lobby.

If only I had used my brain, turned around, gone back to my room and dropped off my coat – which was not needed indoors – there would be nothing to write about today.  😳  But – NO – I continued on the hallway, down the stairs into the lobby and then to the restaurant.

Just inside the entrance to the restaurant there was a small unattended cloak room.  The restaurant was crowded, and there were many overcoats hanging so close together that I had difficulty making room to hang up mine.  Then I proceeded into the main room and was seated by the hostess.

Obviously, I don’t remember what I had for dinner, but I do recall that I enjoyed my meal.  Then, after paying my check I went into the cloak room to retrieve my overcoat.  There were at least forty coats a-hanging but not one of them was mine!!   😦

Surely, someone has taken my coat by accident, thought I – – and surely that someone will soon discover their mistake and return it, thought I – – not to worry.

A wee bit of a problem, however – in the right pocket of my overcoat resided my expensive pair of fur-lined gloves, my car keys and my room key!!!

Not to worry, thought I.  I told the restaurant hostess and cashier what had happened and gave them my room number and asked them to bring my coat (when it was returned) to the front desk.  I then told the person at the front desk what had happened and asked that they call me if the coat was returned before midnight – and if not to hold it until the morning when I would check out.  I also got another room key

To this day I still can’t believe that I hadn’t had even the slightest doubt that I, my coat and its contents would be reunited.

Sorry to leave the story at this point, but the post has gotten much too long and there is still the exciting part to come!   So – – – to be continued……

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