Young George Trofimoff finally reached Hartford, there having been no one to meet him upon his arrival at La Guardia International airport. It was already dark outside, about eight o’clock. There was little traffic, and the streets were covered with a few inches of snow. It was picturesque and had a warm feeling, except that George did not know where to go.
He had been given two names and two addresses by the Friends organization in Paris, either of which could be contacted upon his arrival. One for Mr. Butterworth; another for a Miss Williams. The address for Miss Williams seemed to be in the city, while the address for Mr. Butterworth stated West Hartford and named a Sunset Farms address. George decided to take a chance on advice from a taxi driver. He hoped he would be more honest than the one George had experienced at Grand Central Station in New York.
The taxi driver told George that the address of Miss Williams on Woodland Street would be closer, so George decided to go there to see if anyone was home. As the taxi drove through Hartford, the Christmas decorations were reflecting on the snow creating a dance of multi-colored lights. The streets were quiet. It was like a winter wonderland. George was surprised that America was so beautiful.
As the taxi pulled up to the Williams’ address, the driveway was circular and expansive. To George, the home looked like a mansion, and he felt out-of-place. He saw himself as this vagabond from Germany, and yet, here he was in front of this beautiful American home in this Christmas wonderland. He paid the taxi and timidly rang the bell. A minute later, Miss Williams opened the door and looked at him with surprise in her eyes, saying “Yes?’ George attempted to introduce himself in broken English: “I am George, George Trofimoff, George from Paris!”
At last, Miss Williams realized what was going on, who George was. She opened the door wide, saying: “Oh my goodness, George from Paris. Please come in. Mother, George from Paris is here; what a surprise!” An elderly lady came into the foyer and welcomed George to her home, expressing her glad feelings about his safe arrival from Europe. She later told George to call her “Bumble” and had him sit in her luxurious living room, while she telephoned Mr. Butterworth about his arrival.
After about an hour, Mr. Butterworth arrived to take George to his new American home. Mr. Butterworth became “Uncle Paul”; his wife, “Aunt Libby”‘ and of course, there was “Bumble.” This was his new family, and he would call them by these endearments the rest of his life.
I write of the life and trials of George Trofimoff in my book: “Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying”.
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