In 1979, when my brother was sixteen, he went to London and got detained for two days at Heathrow. I was fifteen, but it was up to me to find out what happened to him because I’m kinda gifted in that area.
He wasn’t permitted to use the phone, so I had to figure out what happened with no clues. After many phone calls to airport security, American Embassy, and the airline, I was able to pin him down at the airport detention center.
I learned the reason he was detained was that he told customs he planned to live there. They never told me they were sending him back, but on a hunch, I thought they might be planning to do that.
For no particular reason, I suspected he would be on a flight from JFK that was arriving at Will Rogers the second night. We hadn’t spoken to him since before he left. Still, I talked my mother into driving to the Oklahoma City airport from Altus on nothing but a hunch.
I was nervous while watching the passengers getting off the plane. I was afraid my hunch might be wrong since it was a long shot.
As it turned out, he was on that flight, and he bounced into the terminal with his Gilligan hat and a huge smile. That made me angry. How dare he be so carefree and oblivious to what he put us through for the last 48 hours.
The phone bill was over a thousand dollars that month. Doc had given me a sailboat that I was looking forward to trying out at the lake but hadn’t yet been out in it. Doc sold the boat to pay the phone bill.
My brother soon became a world traveler. He has visited over fifty countries.
I have never been sailing.
My boat was a 12′ Challenger, but it did look a lot like this one.