If Abe’s father had been home, there would have been pandemonium in the Levine household. As it was, with Sammy in New Jersey solving a warehousing problem, it was merely chaos. 

Dora Levine stood in her kitchen, her voice rising with an edge of panic. “Where will you sleep? What will you eat? What about your classes? What will your father say?” 

Wisely ignoring the last question, Abe had answers for everything else. “Mother, it’s just a short vacation. A few days. I’ll travel with Jerry, so we can take shifts; one will drive, the other can sleep. For Shabbos, we’ll stop in a Chicago hotel. I’ll just be missing a few classes, and I’ve worked out with a friend of mine to take notes. I haven’t missed a class all semester, and I’m entitled to a few absences. And as for food…” 

“You leave that to me, Abie,” Rachel interjected. “One hour and you’ll have everything you need.” 

He smiled at Bubbe, his supporter and his confidante. To his mother, he just announced that he needed a break, a few days to think. He’d been dreaming about taking the Pontiac out of the city, onto country roads. Final examinations were just around the corner and he needed to breathe a little fresh air before diving intensely into his studies. 

Bubbe knew more. Bursting into the house hours before he was expected home, he had told her all about the abbreviated meeting: Annie’s silence that ended in tears, Moe’s letter. 

“Bubbe,” he told her, his eyes sparkling, “you know how much I’ve wanted to take an automobile trip. This is the perfect excuse: I’ll be doing a fellow — a lonely Jewish soldier — a favor, giving him a taste of home.” 

Bubbe twinkled at him. “And if the fellow’s sister happens to be a certain wonderful young woman…” 

They both laughed, and together went to break the news to his mother.